You Can’t Send Christmas Back!
Is it just me or is celebrating Christmas – the birth of Christ – becoming a more difficult holiday to celebrate these days? I am all too aware of how our schools, stores, and media outlets has taken “Christ” out of “Christmas.” It reminds me of a Christmas a long time ago. It was in 1996 when my youngest daughter was born. We returned home from Forsyth Hospital 5 days before Christmas. As parents we had great expectations of how our oldest daughter, now two years old, would welcome this tiny baby in her arms. We were in for a rude awakening. The moment we introduced Jordan to her new sister, she took one look and was unimpressed. To be fair we interrupted her play time with her grandparents. I will never forget her emphatic words as she pushed back the bundle of joy, “Take her back! We don’t need a baby!” Not exactly the Hallmark moment we had envisioned. Yet as time went on these two daughters have become the best of friends. I wonder — is this how our attitude has become when the holidays roll around?
Has this holy day become more of a burden than a blessing? Unrealistic expectations — financial, family, and even our faith practices — can steal our joy. Overwhelming losses, hardship and violence in the world can also overwhelm us with sorrow or cynicism this time of year. If we aren’t careful we may find ourselves joining with the rest of society shouting, “Take it back! We don’t need a baby this Christmas!” A baby, well, he will just get in the way!
However, this is precisely the reason God sent His Son into the world. Not just to get in the way, but this baby is THE WAY for us to find our way back to God. Isaiah proclaims this Good News 700 years before Christ was born: “For a child has been born for us! The gift of a son—for us! He’ll take over the running of the world. His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness. His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.” (Isaiah 9:6, The Message)
While the world around us wants to have nothing to do with the Christ-child, there is one thing we can celebrate, “You can’t take back Christmas! The world, in fact, needs a baby! His name is Jesus! We have some wonderful worship and musi-cal offerings this month, as well as fellowship and service opportunities. I want to encourage you to take time this season and become whole again. Really enjoy the miracle of God-with-us!
With Much Love AND Thanksgiving,