Does Santa visit your house every year? He visits ours, and samples our cookies too. How he drives that sleigh and slides down the chimney with all those presents – I’ll never know!
Do you have a magical elf who visits the North Pole every night? We do. He’s fun and ornery – just like our kids! How many bags of marshmallows can that little guy go through in one December anyway?
What about an Advent calendar to count down the days until Christmas? This is a new tradition at our house with little pieces of candy and little reminders to drink hot cocoa and watch Christmas movies.
Do you gather with friends and family for the holidays? Holding my newborn nephew for two hours at an early Christmas celebration was magical in itself.
‘Tis the season of giving – have you helped anyone? Grabbed a tag from the local angel tree? Stuffed money in the red Salvation Army kettle? Or gave anonymously?
Then there’s the baking. There are special cookie and candy recipes that only see the light of day in December. Peanut Brittle, Chocolate Crinkles, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Cherry Mash…
Decorations set the stage for the big day with Christmas trees, blinking lights, snowmen, and stockings hung with care. So much to do… is it a burden or a joy? Sometimes I don’t know if I’m counting Christmas blessings or Christmas stressings, but it really comes down to one thing, one person: Jesus.
Do you have Jesus? That’s the best part of Christmas. There’s so much talk about those who take Christ out of Christmas, but He’s always there no matter what anyone says or how they say it. No matter what gets put up or what is taken down, He’s always there. His love is always there.
We can choose to get lost in all the busy-ness of Christmas, or we can choose to find Christ in everything Christmas. No need to worry about saying “Happy Holidays” when “holidays” originally referred to the “Holy Days.” And writing “Xmas” is really the short hand used by ancient scholars; “X” in Greek is “Chi”, the first letter for “Christ.” It doesn’t matter if you put up your tree before Thanksgiving or observantly wait until the end of Advent; the evergreen needles point to the everlasting nature of the Messiah on a heavenward pointing tree.
He’s the gift that truly keeps on coming and keeps on giving. He’s the gift that’s always on trend. He’s the gift you need if you’re three, if you’re nine, or if you’re thirty-nine. Or if you’re ninety-three.
What we always need every year is more love and grace. Jesus is all about that and more. Every year we’re reminded at Christmas that God said “I love you” to everyone by sending his amazing perfect Son to a troubled Earth. The baby King of Kings shared space with livestock. A countless band of angels filled the sky. Can you imagine? And shepherds were the first to know.
He came in his sinless perfection because we are imperfect sinners. He came with a gift of grace, a gift of eternal life that we didn’t deserve, because we can’t obtain it on our own. We can’t be good enough to earn it and brag about it. It’s a free gift, through faith, and out of it we live as his children sharing love with others and loving the Giver of the gift. And so, they say, Love came down at Christmas.
We’ll quietly ponder the “Silent Night” and shout our “Joy to the World.” His love never gets old. We can’t outgrow and we can’t use it all up. It’s never obsolete. And it’s always just exactly the gift all of us need this year and every year after that.
Blessings to you this Christmas!