To many today, Christmas is just a holiday – a stressful one at that. It’s a time for buying gifts that didn’t need to be bought out of a budget that couldn’t afford them. It’s a time for squeezing parties and extra events into a schedule that was already too full. It’s a time in which many feel rushed and over-committed when what they really need is to slow down and enjoy the season.
Christmas should be a time of peace, not of fear and unrest. We fear we may overlook someone on our gift list, or maybe they won’t like what we bought them, or perhaps they will think our gift too cheap. For some, Christmas brings the added tension of bringing together fractured families. Instead of peace, they dread the inevitable conflicts. Yet, Christmas should be a time of peace.
Christmas should be a time of hope. Think about this, Christmas is poised at the end of one year and the beginning of the next – at the crossroads of the past and the future. A previous year, with its blessings and its trials, is gone. A new year looms ahead, full of uncertainty. Yet, here is Christmas – the celebration of a birth that took place 2000 years ago – a perennial bright spot on our calendars – because God has give us hope. Christmas should be a time of hope.
Christmas should be a time of love centered around the greatest love story ever told – the story of God who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Christmas is the story of God’s greatest gift given to meet our greatest need – because God is Love. Christmas should be a time of love.
The Christmas story – a tale retold year after year, yet it never loses its majesty; it never ceases to fill our hearts with wonder. I want you to see three facts – three certainties – that if you will let them find room in your heart today, they will fill this Christmas with peace, hope, and love.
Let’s first think of the reality of this story, It contains scandalous behavior. She was found with child. Forget, for a moment, the part about “of the Holy Ghost.” You and I know that now because we have it written in the Word of God. But only Mary knew it then. For five, maybe six months she had been able to keep her condition a secret. But, the day arrived when her pregnancy could no longer be hidden. She was found with child. She was found out. Into the midst of this confusion, with all its conflicting thoughts and emotions, Joseph receives a word from God. And let me say, that is what we need when our lives spin out of control.
A tiny baby came into a grim and dark world, shining light across the barren landscape – a light that still invites men to come into the warmth of God’s grace and find there peace, and hope, and love.
I wish you and your family peace this holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Oretha Winston Elev8- Lead Editor