I must admit that I love the holiday season- starting with Thanksgiving and wrapping things up on New Years day. I love reflecting on all the things I have to be thankful for at Thanksgiving time, and I love starting off the New Year by reflecting upon my victories from the last year and my goals for the coming year. But why do I love Christmas?
Once a year my husband and I celebrate the anniversary of our wedding. In realty the date which we celebrate is fairly arbitrary since we have 3 actual â€œweddingâ€ dates. We got married legally on one day, had our marriage ceremony in America another day, and had our marriage celebration in Italy yet another. We have chosen to celebrate our anniversary the date of our actual wedding ceremony- May 18. Why? To remember the significance of that day. Our anniversary is a chance to remember our wedding vows, to make an extra effort to show each other how much we love each other and how thankful we are to be able celebrate our years together. Shouldnâ€™t we do this every day? Sure. Of course! But do we? Honestly, no. Things are busy, life is filled with appointments, work, meetings, kids, family, our kids activities, friends, etc, etc. and more days than not we do not celebrate our marriage intentionally. Our anniversary, on the other hand, is a day we set aside for one another. It is a day that we pause, that we rest from all of our busyness, however good and wonderful it may be, and that we take time for each other. We tell each other we love each other, we give each other extra attention, we give each other gifts, we make things right that need to be adjusted in our relationship, we make commitments for the next year of our marriage together. We celebrate our walk together. It is a beautiful opportunity, not to be taken for granted.
I have heard many say, â€œI donâ€™t celebrate Christmas because we should celebrate Jesus every day- not just on Christmas.â€ But the truth of the matter is that we do not. We are often so occupied with our busy lives, even our busy lives of service in church, that we do not take the time to meditate on Christ, on his birth, his life, his death and his resurrection. It is a lot like the example of my anniversary. I love my husband. I try to show him every day that I love him. I try to spend time with every day too. But our anniversary is still precious. It is precious because it is that chance to step back from everything else that calls our attention and dedicate ourselves to each other. Christmas is that. It is the chance to place our eyes on Jesus- because most of the world stops on Christmas, and it is a holiday from work and we have a pause from our busyness, it is that chance for us to stop and reflect upon the life of Jesus.
The most beautiful thing about Christmas to me is the reminder that Jesus came- that He lived. It is easy for me to live and experience the Lordship of Christ. I live it every day- his sovereignty, his omnipotence, his omniscience, etc. But sometimes it is harder for me to remember the humanity of Christ. I love these verses in Hebrews:
Hebrews 2:9-14 â€œBut we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says, â€˜I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.â€™â€¦â€™Here am I, and the children God has given me.â€™ Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of deathâ€¦ For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being temptedâ€¦ Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we areâ€”yet he did not sin. Let us then approach Godâ€™s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Christmas reminds me that Jesus lived- that He was fully human, and that because he lived, he can truly empathize with everything I experience, feel, and desire in my own life.
I love to take the opportunity to slow down on Christmas and to be thankful for the gift of Godâ€™s son. The most precious gift that ever was and that ever will be. It is through this gift, it is through the sacrificial gift of God in giving his son, that my sins could be forgiven. Christmas is the chance to thank God for giving his son for me. It is the chance to celebrate John 3:16 â€œFor God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.â€ For God so loved me, that He gave. For God so loved you, that He gave. He gave his son on Christmas day so many years agoâ€¦His son became flesh, and lived among us. The son of God lived every temptation, discouragement, trial, and frustration that we live so that he could be our great high priest. His son came to die, on a cross, and then raise again from the dead, so that WE MAY LIVE! And that is why I love Christmas. And the beauty of this particular day is that not only do I take the time to slow down and reflect upon the gift of Godâ€™s son, but so does much of the rest of the world. Christmas is a unique opportunity to share the love of God for us- to share the love of God with your friend, your neighbor, your co-worker. Because on Christmas people are just more openâ€¦they are already reflecting upon the true meaning of Christmas, and this I believe is by Godâ€™s design. It is a precious opportunity to share with those who maybe normally would not want to come to church, or to receive a Bible verse, or to hear you share about who Jesus is. We had the opportunity once to invite a family of another religious heritage over on Christmas eve. It was an amazing opportunity to share what Christmas is, and through that to share the gospel!
I hope that you will take time to enjoy this Christmas. I hope you will celebrate it with all your heart. I hope you will use the opportunity to share with those who are close to you the love of a God who gaveâ€¦