We all know how thrilling the Christmas season can be! If only for a short time, it seems people lay aside their selfishness and look for ways to bless others. The holidays are a time to tell people that you love them and to make clear what we typically assume people know. The gatherings, office parties, dinners, and gift exchanges provide unique opportunities to enjoy this wonderful time of year.
We all are also too well acquainted with the possibility of missing the point of Christmas altogether. The frantic pace of Christmas in our culture can choke out our rest. The pressure to find "the perfect gift" or get the house decorated just so, can come at the cost of our sanity. When these things happen, Christmas still surely comes, but often we are too exhausted to enjoy it.
People tend to make extravagant "to-do" lists this time of year (at least I know that I do!). Buy gifts -- wrap gifts -- decorate house -- send Christmas cards -- RSVP to party invitations -- order food for parties we are hosting -- and on it goes. I think all of these things can be fun and a part of what makes this season unique. We just need to make sure we never lose sight of the heart of the Christmas season: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son!
Thinking about these things reminds me of something I read a while ago. The story goes that
one Christmas Eve the telephone rang in the office of the Pastor of the church in Washington, D.C. that President Franklin Roosevelt attended. “Tell me Reverend,” the voice inquired, “are you holding a Christmas Eve service tonight?” When advised that there would certainly be a service that evening, the caller asked, “And do you expect President Roosevelt to attend your church tonight?” “That,” explained the Pastor patiently, “I can’t promise. I’m not sure about the President’s plans for this evening. But I can say that we fully expect God to be in our church tonight, and we feel secure in the knowledge that His attendance will attract a reasonably large congregation.”
Will you receive all the gifts you are hoping for this year on Christmas morning? Will your children be grateful for what they open? Will your parties be well attended? Will your family all be healthy and happy on December 25th? Well, I cannot answer a single one of those questions. However, like the pastor in the story above, I am sure of one thing. This Christmas, like all of them, is an invitation to behold the Lord our God. And I am confident that there is enough joy in meditating on the greatness of the gift of our Savior's birth to make Christmas meaningful for all of us.
Take a moment today, right in the midst of what is surely a full schedule, to just meditate on the joy of Christmas. Read John 1:1-14 and steady your heart by meditating on the good news that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
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