Dear Friends in Christ … Merry Christmas!
It is the time of year when we stop to think about giving to others. Gifts are important and most people select carefully and thoughtfully that which our loved ones will most enjoy and appreciate.
Let us not forget, however, that we have already received the greatest gift … the gift of Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate. That is a gift that never gets old … never is outdated … never wears out.
It is my prayer this year, as always, that we not get overwhelmed by the commercialism of the season and remember to celebrate the birth of Jesus into our “world of sin,” that on that “Holy Night,” peace broke into our world, giving us reason to celebrate. It seems now, more than ever, peace is so needed everywhere. Gun violence. Fires. Disruption and discord in our political system. And the list goes on.
The Apostle Paul says in Romans 8
31What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written,
"For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered."
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
To keep this holy season in perspective and keep it from sappy nostalgia … let us take seriously what God has done. Jesus was born into our world as a human being, a baby, completely dependent upon the love and care of others. He showed us what God’s love is really about. He calls us to follow Him. He gave His life so that we can live with forgiveness and hope. That’s what this season is really about. Sharing that gift that God has given us in Jesus Christ. Sharing love and hope with those around us and with the world by our bold witness of keeping the celebration of Christmas in proper perspective. It is indeed a holy season, worthy of deep reflection of how much God loves all of us … no matter what color, gender, political persuasion, age, or anything else. Nothing can keep us from that love or from sharing it with others. Nothing.
So, with that, I do pray for peace in your homes … peace in our community … and peace throughout the world. Live with forgiveness … live with hope … for all.