Christmas is a time when each of us can make a difference in the hearts and lives of others. You may not be a light to the whole world, but you can light your part of the world. We all can.
One of the miracles of Christmas is that even in a modern society, where you often find yourself seemingly besieged by rampant materialism, the true meaning of Christmas is never entirely lost. Even nonbelievers are moved by the symbolism of an innocent child who represents humanity’s hope and who came to earth to invite each person to reach out to God and to one another. I cannot imagine a more beautiful story.
My wife has a fondness for miniature nativities, or manger scenes, as they are sometimes called. Twenty-five years ago she made small nativity figurines as gifts for her family. She sculpted them from clay, painted them at the kitchen table, and then baked them in the oven. Her sister still displays her set every Christmas.
There are many things we can celebrate at Christmas, the most essential being the gift of our relationship with God through His Son, Jesus. To paraphrase a beautiful promise in the book of Daniel, the closer we grow to Him, the more His wisdom will “shine as the brightness of the firmament in us,” and His righteousness through us “as the stars forever and ever.”1 Remembering to pause and take those moments to acknowledge Him allows His Spirit to flow freely in our lives and replaces the stress and strain that bottles up our joy. All we have to do is let that peace flow in, and He goes to work helping it shine out to others.
One day I noticed that my dentist friend, Dr. Rina, was looking a bit sad. We often meet for coffee, but today Rina wasn’t her usual bubbly self. I asked her what was wrong and she answered:
“Well, Christmas is coming up, and I’m just feeling kind of sad. As you know, both of my children are married and live far away. And I don’t have any grandchildren yet.”
Christmas was God’s big splash, the greatest miracle ever—His love in the form of His only Son, Jesus, sent down to earth to lead us back to Him. And Christmas is still a time for miracles. Like ripples traveling out from that splash, little Christmas miracles remind us of God’s unfailing love.
Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch—have you ever sympathized with them as the Christmas season approaches? Or perhaps not to that extreme, but maybe you’ve never felt the warm fuzzies that everyone else has? And would you like to figure out how to have a better Christmas this year?
December is by far my busiest month of the year. The days are filled with organizing events, recycling toys to give to needy kids, buying gifts, decorating the house, and planning Christmas get-togethers and Christmas Eve dinner. Then there’s New Year’s celebration to ring out the old and ring in the new.
On the Christmas Eve of my sophomore year in college, I was trying, and failing miserably, to feel “Christmas fuzzies.” Part of it was that the excitement of my freshman year was gone, and I was battling a bout of end-of-semester fatigue, coupled with frustration over an assignment that I’d been struggling with. I sat waiting outside my professor’s office to discuss the aforementioned problematic paper, while reminiscing wistfully on the carefree good cheer of childhood Christmas festivities.
For me, one of the most exciting parts of Christmas is the presents. I know, Christmas is about so much more than gifts—yet the simple act of opening my presents and finding out what’s in them always brings me a lot of excitement. I catch sight of a gift, beautifully wrapped, with my name on it, and it thrills me! Even if I have an idea what it might be, it’s so much fun to open the package and see the gift for the first time!
As the Hallmark movie channel announced 40 new Christmas movies for their 2019 schedule, it occurred to me that few events get the expectation and hype that Christmas does. Christmas has come to represent the culmination of the year in an extended season of beauty, feasting, generosity, friendship, and joy. We plan for traditions to be repeated, bringing all the perfection of Christmases past into today’s edition.
Christmas is best enjoyed when it isn’t centered on decorations, presents, or festivities, but on My gift of love to the world. Love is the essence of Christmas. Christmas is best celebrated by taking quality time with your family and friends, and cherishing and celebrating the love you share. Sadly, love can get lost amid the Christmas hustle and bustle. Sometimes it’s covered up by the decorations and gifts, the endless shopping, and the Christmas dinner and parties.