Friday, November 29, 2013

Christmas Time Is Here!

I love this time of year!  Well, at least for the most part.  I must admit there are things about this season that get under my skin, but still it is my favorite time of year.  How could I not get excited about the time of year we celebrate the birth of our Savior.  Now, for those of you who understand that Jesus was not born on December 25th and find it necessary to let me know, I already know that.  I am less concerned about the when and more concerned about the "Who." In my house we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  We have a Christmas tree, we exchange gifts, we watch Christmas movies, we're thankful for what we have, and Jesus is the center of it all.  

I know we live in a culture that seems to forget the true meaning of this season every year.  Perhaps I have an idealistic memory of the past, but I seem to remember a time when this time of year was not so crazy.  A time when Christmas wasn't about standing in line waiting for a store to open so we could save a buck.  A time when Christmas wasn't about fitting all the parties I must attend into my schedule.  A time when a baby in a manger didn't offend somebody.  A time when the word "Christmas" didn't incite a political debate.  Sometimes I'm left scratching my head and wondering how in the world we ever got here.

Looking back at that first Christmas, it seems that we are not that much different than those who lived during that time.  No, they didn't hit the malls late on Thanksgiving Day, but they were clueless to the fact that they were right smack dab in the middle of the greatest event in the history of the world.  Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of his day for not being able to discern the season they were in.  While that was some 30 years after his birth, that truth holds true for the season of His birth as well.  God was up to something.  Something absolutely incredible and most of the world was so caught up doing life that they completely missed what was going on.

Santa, Rudolph, Frosty, retailers, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and everything else can help us lose track of what this season is all about if we aren't careful. While Jesus came as the Prince of Peace, we'll find ourselves stressed out and burned out during this time if we fall into the pit our culture digs for us. 

Nine months prior to His arrival, Gabriel came to announce His birth to the virgin Mary.  From that moment on she had a constant reminder that Christmas was on its way.  While the rest of the world failed to recognize the season they were in, because she was pregnant with this Christ Child, she never lost sight of it.  Christ was in her and everyday she was reminded that Christmas time was here. 

The world will always miss it.  They'll always find something else to center this season around.  Because Christ is not the center of their world, how could we ever expect Him to be the center of this season for them.  But as Believers we have Christ in us.  Like Mary, we have Him living in us reminding us that Christmas time is here.  Reminding us of a special day when God came to earth in the form of a little baby.  A baby who would change our destiny.  A baby who would save our lives. The date on the calendar is irrelevant.  What's important is that He came and that we celebrate His coming.

This season, I'll venture out a time or two to shop for those I love.  That's a huge sacrifice for me because I don't like to shop during the non-Christmas season.  I'll put up our Christmas tree.  I'll put lights on the house. I'll watch Christmas movies with my family.  I'll go to Christmas parties.  I'll sit in front of the fire with my wife, Lori.  I'll spend time with family and friends.  And all the while I'll try desperately to make sure that Jesus is the center of it all. But that's not something unique to this time of year.  While Christmas is a holy time for me, so is January thru November.  If I could I'd leave up my Christmas lights year round.  But I'm the light of the world.  What's more important is that I keep my light on year round. That includes this season. 

Christmas time is here.  Yes, a Child was born.  A Savior, a King was given.  God has come to us.  In the middle of all the hoopla, that's what I'll be focused on this season!      

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