Christmas is one of the most beloved times of the year. Images abound of people sitting in front of warm fireplaces on snowy days, families selecting trees to decorate for the Christmas season and seasonal foods that we wait all year to enjoy. It's during this time that we hear Christmas music in the shopping malls, smells of baked goods all around and families traveling distances to see synchronized light displays. I remember that as a small child, after a snowfall, we would go for a wonderful outing on the sled. The benefit for me was I did most of the riding while other family members did the pulling and pushing. Ah, what a life! Wonderful, lifelong memories were generated based on these experiences.
Although the meaning of Christmas has been the same for over 2,000 years, the distractions and pressures of everyday life threaten to dampen the joy and beauty of the season. Today, people feel the pressure to get the latest and most popular gifts. Due to better marketing, companies have convinced the public that Christmas can only be enjoyable if you receive the latest, coolest and most popular gadget. A 52-inch plasma television comes to mind! As soon as Thanksgiving ends, everyone rushes to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales with the thought of getting that special, recently advertised gift that is a "must have". This pressure becomes burdensome for
many and before they know it, their joy for the season decreases and exhaustion steps in instead. Those that do make it to a church celebration find themselves sitting in the church thinking about the gifts they still must purchase or struggle to stay awake due to shear exhaustion! Be honest with yourself and say, "Amen", if that's ever happened to you.
If I asked you to pause for a moment and tell me the true meaning of the Christmas season, could you tell me? We need to open our eyes and see Christ in Christmas.
When I ride through cities and towns observing their Christmas decorations, I see the beauty of the bright lights but I see much more. When I see the tree, whether outside of the White House, in one of the cities around the country or in someone's home, I notice the rich, green color of the tree. The deep, green color during the cold season when everything else has turned brown or
gray, reminds me of the everlasting life that comes through Jesus. He said He is "the way, the truth and the life". Only through Him do we have the God kind of life.
The tree itself reminds me of the sacrifice Jesus made for you and me. He was hung on the cross, which was made from wood. He was pinned to it along with our sin debt. This act of His showed a love for us that we could never repay.
The garland comes in multiple colors but the prevalent colors I've seen are red and gold. The red garland reminds me of the blood that Jesus shed for our freedom. Such a willing sacrifice for our benefit I will never forget.
The gold garland reminds me of the wealth that is in Christ Jesus. Jesus is called the King of Kings which means he has no lack in His life. Wealth means finances but it also addresses health, peace, joy, and much more. Because we know that He is not impacted by the economic crisis that has impacted the Earth, I know the Bible was correct in saying, "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
The star at the top of a tree reminds me of how he declared the coming fulfillment of His promise. He sent a star for everyone to see, that hovered over the young Messiah.
The lights themselves remind me of the glory of God, which shines brighter than anything else, even the Sun. When our life situations seem dark, I know I can go to the Lord and He will shine light on my darkness.
I could continue indefinitely but I want to share one more. When you see families, including parents, out together, playing in the snow, it reminds me of the love and interaction the Father wants to have with each of us. Can you take a moment and let Him love you like He desires? Think about it.