As Christmas is just now officially arriving at midnight I wish you a WONDER FILLED Christmas! Not just an occasion for gift giving and receiving, singing and feasting, but a really marvelous time of being caught up in the wonder of Christmas. I wish for you, and your entire family, the kind of wonder that is displayed in this photo (thanks Isha S.). Â Do you see the beautiful blend of delight and awe, curiosity and joy that is seen as this young child reaches out for the Christmas tree ornament? THAT is the kind of Christmas I wish for you!!
Delight in the love and merriment of gathering our families and friends together. Awe at the fact that God; the Almighty Creator of Heaven, Earth and everything, sent His only son to earth that we might receive forgiveness and mercy and be allowed to have an everlasting relationship with Him.
The curious excitement at exploring the many sights, sounds, foods and traditions that accompany this special time of celebration. And finally the JOY, pure bliss, of learning that it is not our ability to buy loads of gifts, or give the best presents that make Christmas so very special. It is not the things that make this time most memorable. Rather, I have learned in the leanest of times, in the poorest of health, even when we don’t have the time and energy to participate in a lot of different activities that the modern world thinks typify Christmas celebrations; it is even at the darkest of times, that we come to learn Christmas is NOT about things… it’s about people.
Most importantly, as we center around the true meaning of Christmas, we learn that Jesus was more than just some baby born in a stable over two thousand years ago. Jesus demonstrated what Christmas is all about. It’s about giving of ourselves. Even in the poorest of surroundings, when it looks as though we have nothing of value to give, there remains this truth. There is no greater gift than giving ourselves for the sake of others.
So for those friends of mine who must rest up for three days to be able to have enough energy to be able to even attend a gathering of family for a few hours (and then need another day or two to recover), I say, “rest up. For your just being there is a great gift to your loved ones.” To those who are so very sad or depressed because the lack of sunshine or the reminders of dear ones who have passed on are causing your emotions to weigh heavy upon your spirit, I say, “take heart. Your loved ones love you; sadness included. Get dressed, chin up, and get out that door to your friend’s or families gathering. Allow yourself the grace of knowing that your emotions may be down, but that your heart and soul may be uplifted simply by purposing to go out and partake in the wonder of Christmas.”
You see, if God can take the form of a tiny helpless human child for the sake of bringing hope to others, we can follow this example. It cost Jesus greatly to forgo the ultimate bliss of heaven and enter into our world. Yet, because He did, we have been given the greatest gift of having our sins forgiven and an eternal relationship with the Holy God who created us and wants so much to have a good relationship with us that He sent His only son Jesus to accomplish this for us. He was an example of how to give of ourselves for the sake of others. And when we do give of ourselves it always costs us something. Yet, in so doing we receive back many more blessings than we could have even imagined.
Christmas joy and wonder are so very simple. . . it is in looking around you . . . intentionally opening your eyes to see the many beautiful things that God created, gives and shares with us. Just look at the children. Jesus Himself valued the simple way in which a child comes to understand his world; how they come to faith in Jesus. “Let the Children come to Me,” Jesus commanded as adults tried to keep them away from Him. Everyone knows that it is so much more fun to celebrate Christmas with a child in the home. The bubbly excitement, the many questions, the laughter and wide-eyed awe that are seen with children are good reminders for all of us to get back to the basics of what Christmas is all about.
As Christmas 2013 is now officially here, I wish you a Christmas filled to overflowing with the love that Jesus Christ brought to us that very first Christmas. May you discover it first-hand and then dare to share what you’ve found with others, so that your joy (and theirs) may be multiplied many times over as God’s presence fills the missing void. “Glory to God is the Highest!” the angels proclaimed on that first Christmas. Let us join in that song, now and forever.
Happy Birthday Jesus! O’ what a wonder you are!
Shepherds and wise men, paupers and kings;
all who would follow the star.
Coming as helpless babe. Your life for us to give.
Humble or sickly, poor or common;
ANY who sought you could live.
We celebrate you Jesus! All else put asunder.
Lights, gifts and presents, music and gatherings
YOU are the source of ALL wonder.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” — John 3:16 Â Â The truth is so simple. Have you believed?
I pray that you, dear reader, will discover the deepest and sweetest sense of wonder yet known to man . . . may you discover the sweet gift of Emmanuel ( God with us ) . . . Jesus Christ who came to be the Light of the World, the Prince of Peace, and should you choose, your Lord and Savior. Merry Christmas!