“Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la, la la la la!” Oh, sorry! I’m just excited for this time of year! I hope you all feel that way too. To say that this past year has been challenging and exasperating would be an understatement. It is certainly unlike any year we have seen in a long while. I’m sure everyone of you could share for hours and hours about your own personal experiences. Christmas couldn’t come soon enough!
Hopefully, this joyous holiday will provide for you a much-needed break from the daily grind and give you an opportunity to get some rest and recharge your batteries. As a 6th grade teacher, I can surely attest to enjoying some time off, especially with how “productive” (wink wink) remote learning is going. This time can also welcome chances to catch up with some longtime friends, family members you haven’t seen in a while, or spend quality time with your kids who are back home from school. It’s just a wonderful season to rekindle and strengthen those important relationships in your life.
Connections are absolutely necessary for our health and well-being. From family, to friends, to our church body, we need them! There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Now while those examples are, no doubt, important, the most vital relationship we can ever have is with the one who was born in that lowly manger in the back of a stable. The one that would live a sinless life, die a gruesome and horrible death, take on the sins of the world, and defeat death so that we may have eternal life, Jesus Christ!
I can’t help but think of Linus from that beloved A Charlie Brown Christmas movie when he quotes Luke 2:8-14 during the play rehearsal:
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘fear not, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in the manger.’ And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men.’
“That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
Yes it is Linus! YES IT IS!
You see, Christmas lights and songs are great, baked cookies and eggnog are great, family and friends are great, exchanging and opening gifts are great, but nothing is greater than the love God poured out to us by bringing Jesus Christ into this world to redeem all those who call on His name. Now that’s something to get truly excited about! So, as we celebrate the real reason for the season, let us all rest in that peace of knowing that whatever we have experienced this year, Jesus Christ is in complete control and is the greatest and most perfect gift of all!! Happy Birthday Jesus!