It’s amazing how fast the year went by. The dusting of snow on the ground, the crisp weather, the lights on the trees, the hustle and bustle in the shopping areas all indicate the Christmas season is here!
I love Christmas, but it’s always a bittersweet season for me.
Having grown up in a legalistic church/ cult, my family and I didn’t celebrate Christmas until I was 12 years old, after we left that place. We were taught from the time we were little kids that Christmas was pagan and evil.
For that reason, Christmas doesn’t quite have the “magic” for me–you, know, that nostalgic feeling that finds it root in childhood–since I missed those special moments: the awe and wonder of the decorations, the preparation, the suspense, and of course, the gifts.
Christmas also signals to me the the year is almost over. It makes me think of how quickly the time went by, and some things that I wanted to accomplish, but wasn’t able to get done. And I’m not a fan of winter!
But I definitely don’t want to be a Grinch. So, now I’m going to look at the positive side…
For Jesus, Christmas is a time of birth. For us, it’s a time of rebirth.
The year is winding down, and a fresh new year is ahead, with new opportunities arising: opportunities for business, and opportunities for relationships too. I’m glad my children can celebrate Christmas and enjoy the true meaning of the season. As they are getting old enough to appreciate it, my wife and I are doing special advent devotions with them. My wife actually has created her own Advent devotional for our family–complete with thought provoking questions to encourage us to focus on the Savior and thank Him for what He has done for us.
I’ve really been enjoying it this year.
I think the kids are too: at the close of the devotion, the kids get to blow out a candle. (It’s amazing how they will sit still through the devotional just to get to blow out a candle!)
We brought our candleabra to church, so here is the makeshift one my wife made. Egg cartons: useful things!
So in the midst of all the craziness, this is the perfect time to slow down a little, snuggle up to those we love, and spend quality time with them. Even better, open up the Bible together and discover again the joy of the coming King! These verses come to my mind as I write:
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:4-7)
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-7)
That is the mystery of Christmas. We don’t know for sure when Jesus was born, but maybe it’s good that we celebrate His birth in the winter, when, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s cold and dark.
In the darkness, we can appreciate the light so much more.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; for those living in a land of deep darkness, a light has shined upon them.” (Isaiah 9:2)
When you string those twinkling lights up on your tree, take a moment and think about the Star of David–the Light of the World, God in human flesh that broke into our world of chaos, to bring order; into our world of angst to bring peace.
In this painting I just finished, “Enjoying the Light of the World,” you can see the family sitting together by the warm fire, reading together the wonderful story of God’s love and grace to us in the Bible. When we seek the Lord during this special time of year, peace, joy and love will flood into our homes as a result. (By the way, I have turned this painting into a free Christmas card that you can download and print)
Christmas is coming. So go ahead, break out the sticks and logs, get a good crackling fire going, open up that Bible, and gather your family around to share the comforting words of our Lord Jesus Christ: “…I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
May God richly bless your Christmas season!
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