The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
My dear encountered couples:
Christmas is a time to celebrate new beginnings. It is a time to leave old sorrows, old hurts, old past grudges and grievances behind, and get on with living. God’s Son left heaven to be born into the world and make it possible for us to give a new direction to our lives.
Our entire country is taking a day off. It is the only time of the year when a celebration so widespread takes place. More people celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ than any other holy day or holiday on the calendar. Believers and non—believers together get caught up in the celebration of Christmas and are touched by its spirit whether they want to or not. It’s just too big and too important to hide from. Try to ignore it and the very act of ignoring impresses upon the ignorer that something powerful just might have taken place. He has seen all the preparations for the past several months? He has seen the buying, the decorating, all the commotion. And he can’t avoid asking himself: Why?
Yes, it is hard to ignore Christmas. That quiet little entrance of the Christ Child into the little town of Bethlehem made sound waves that will continue on past the end of time. It began something that no one will ever be able to stop. God left heaven and made earth his home. Earth will never be the same again. Thank God!
How about you and your life? Will there be any change now that another Christmas has come to take your thoughts back to that first one? And your family? Will they benefit from you becoming a newer and better person because of this celebration? Will they sense something different in you, an improved, a more caring and considerate you? I don’t mean just for today, but on into the future? If this Christmas doesn’t at least in some way, small or large, make us better people, then it is a Christmas that has not achieved its purpose, a Christmas that we have wasted and missed the meaning of.
I’ll bet the lives of those shepherds were changed to the better even though they returned to their flocks to take up their regular occupation. That experience had to affect them and their ways of looking at life. It must in some way have made an impression that gave them hope and lifted their spirits in the midst of a life of routine and poverty. The wise men certainly must have gone home richer than when they came — even after they had parted with their expensive gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They would be the first to tell us that to give was just like we have always been told. It is really to receive.
It is very hard to get into the spirit of Christmas when we are sorrowing about something or someone. There are people who find it nearly impossible to celebrate when someone close to them has died. Are you one of those people? Does it make you feel guilty to celebrate and be happy when there is someone special who no longer is able to be here and be happy with you?
The meaning of Christmas is to assure us that those good people we loved, and still love, are happier now than they ever were or ever could be with us. They are with Jesus Christ celebrating his birthday with him. Be happy for them. They want you to be. Don’t stay back in the past and nurse any of your sorrows. Christmas time is a time to leave sorrow and hurting behind. The dead aren’t really dead. They live with Christ.
It is also very hard to enjoy Christmas when we are nursing grievances. Do you have any grievances with anyone? Do you have anything you are mad with someone about? How about giving up at least the petty ones? Give away for Christmas the luxury of nursing complaints that you know deep down really amount to nothing or very little. And promise to try to whittle down the bigger grievances between you and whomever. The coming of the Christ Child into our lives should crowd out some of our anger. Christmas time is a time for forgiving, and for healing.
God shows us by the gift of his only Son that to him we are important. Not just a little but a lot. He even seems to indicate that his happiness depends on our happiness. The world got into bad shape, and even though it was mostly through our own doing (and we’re still doing it), God wants to help us out of this mess. He wants us to know there is still a chance for happiness, if only we would accept his Son into our hearts. Hope has been born — and it is ours.
Christmas is a time to celebrate new beginnings. It is a time to leave old sorrows, old hurts, old grudges and grievances behind. It is a time to get on with living. God’s Son left heaven to be born into the world and make it possible for us to give a new direction to our lives. If you try to do that, this Christmas will be one of your best.
God’s favor rests on you. May you experience some of his peace and joy today. And may you carry with you a large measure of his gift of hope into your future.
I WISH YOU ALL A VERY BLESSED AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!