This time of the year is so different than any other time. Some people absolutely love the holidays and look forward to them all year long. Others hate this time of the year for many different reasons. Children mostly look forward to the gifts, stories and traditions, while parents can not help but notice the balance on cards increasing or the bank account depleting. For some it is remembering the days of old and the happy times together with family and friends. Others find it to be very lonely and brings to the surface that they don’t have many people around them anymore.
The materialism, hustle and bustle, distractions, bling, bells and bows, and all over the airwaves is a seemly endless soundtrack of "old holiday favorites and hits from today.” Whether it is your favorite time or a thorn in your flesh, the one thing Christmas does for all of us is provide us with an opportunity to grow. Character is tested, patience is stretched and our faith is challenged. How do we celebrate the birth of our King? Maybe he is not your king. Regardless of your view, Christmas brings Jesus to the forefront of our minds and we are faced with the challenge of understanding. Do you try to fathom the depths and gravity of what our savior did for us by leaving perfection to become a perfect man in this imperfect world so imperfect people may experience his perfection? Or, do you choose to ignore Jesus in order to fill our minds with the urgent needs and wants of those on our Christmas list, the management of the meals, stockings, wrapping, decorating and the harvesting of a tree? Even though this season is all about Jesus, it still takes energy and discipline to truly make Jesus the center of this season.
2 Corinthians 5:16 says, "So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
There is something about Jesus that makes the worries and trials of this life seem petty and meaningless. All things pale in comparison to the greatness of Jesus. The celebration of Jesus should be just that. It is difficult to look past the pomp and circumstance of this season to see the greatness, power and importance of one simple baby laying in a manger.
Lord, may you be glorified and brought to center-stage this Christmas and may we not fail to remember you at all times teaching our children and those around us what the true meaning of being a follower of Jesus means. Amen.
Our small groups are taking a break for Christmas and there will be no Sunday school this weekend (12/21) but watch for new small groups, events and activities starting in January!