After the service at Watermark on Sunday (12/20/2009), I gained a new perspective on and appreciation of Christmas. If you are like me and grew up in the church or even like most Americans and grew up around Christmas, you’ve seen the manger scenes, watched Charlie Brown’s Christmas, and probably read Luke 2. All of these are great, but as the adage goes, “familiarity breeds contempt”. Maybe you don’t hold contempt for Christmas, but compared to the awe it deserves, we might as well. Think about it: the God who is worth of “glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all time, and now, and forever” broke into that time He created and changed everything! (Jude 25)
But what cast a new light on Christmas was the redirection to consider the 2nd Christmas. Now, you might ask, “2nd Christmas?!? What’s that?” Well, the 1st Christmas was when Jesus came to earth as the savior and suffering servant (Isaiah 9:6; 53:1-12), and the 2nd is when He comes again as conquering king with a never-ending reign (Isaiah 9:7). If we learned as children to look forward to December 25th with the eager anticipation of presents, can we not learn as adults to yearn for the 2nd Christmas when Jesus returns, peace prevails, death ceases, and joy abounds? (Isaiah 65:17-25; Revelation 21:1-7)
I hope you can take joy in that future expectation of Christmas, even if your Christmases now carry stress or heartache with them. Some of you will be with “normal” families, perhaps so picturesque as to have snow and white picket fences. If so, praise God. Others (myself included) will manage the juggling act of time with split families. It isn’t simple, but there’s still joy to be found. And still others of you may not have family to be with, but you do have the body of Christ. I pray that you find fellowship there beyond anything that a biological link can offer.
A few “stocking stuffers” to take with you this Christmas:
- Set out to be a blessing. In each day and situation, whether with friends, family or strangers, focus on how you can bless those around you. It has surprised me how much pressure it takes off my shoulders and how fulfilling it can be when you make much of others rather than focusing on yourself.
- “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt…” (Col. 4:6a). Read and apply Ephesians 4:29 and whether in tense or joyous moments, seek to speak only what is edifying, gracious, and necessary.
- Stand in awe. Infinite God came to earth, entered time, changed everything—all to save us.
If you get a chance, listen to the song, “Born to Die” by Bebo Norman. You can find it on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yV3mkvutn4c).