As always, the Christmas season blew a flurry of activities and busyness into our lives. And now that Christmas has come and gone, some of us are breathing a sigh of relief while others feel a little sad to see it go.
Looking back, our church family at Calvary celebrated the true Christmas story on many occasions and in many ways. The women of Calvary celebrated Christmas through their "Favorite Things" gift exchange. We enjoyed Christmas dinner complete with the telling of the Christmas story from the gospels and caroling at St. Joseph's nursing home. And then there was our study of the first two chapters of the Gospel of Matthew on Sundays. All this and I haven't even touched on our Christmas traditions with our own families - gatherings, shopping, cookies, feasts, traveling, decorating...
So you make the call. Are you happy to see Christmas go or are you wishing Christmas could stay? Maybe you are feeling a bit of both like me. Inside of me is a restless longing to start another year and yet there is also the hope for the joy of Christmas to come with. The feeling is a little like Charles Dickens expressed through Ebeneezer Scrooge: "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
For Scrooge, keeping Christmas all year meant showing good will to all men, a lesson he learned from the ghosts he met on Christmas Eve. How does a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ carry the joy of Christmas all year? Here are some ways:
1. Hold the miracle of the virgin birth close to your heart year-round. The virgin birth is the central miracle of Scripture and most transforming event in history. Jesus born of a virgin means sin can be conquered (Romans 5:17), Christs righteousness given (2 Corinthians 5:21), and God's wrath satisfied (Hebrews 2:17). So treasure the news of a child called Immanuel who was born of a virgin and came bringing the gifts of justification, imputed righteousness and substitutionary atonement.
2. Count on God's lavish generosity extending far past Christmas, lasting all year long. Jesus was born to die and save his people from their sins. God held nothing back on that first Christmas - he did not spare his own Son! If this is how God gives, then we certainly can expect him to be generous all the time! Paul says it perfectly: "How will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32) In Jesus we will receive everything we need to follow, trust, and be satisfied in God, 24 hours /day, 7 days/week, 365 days/year.
3. God's indescribable gift of Christ to you is your year supply of gifts to give to others. God's year-round generosity to His own children includes filling them with abounding grace so that they become cheerful givers. God not only poured his grace into our hearts so that we could see and love Jesus, but he continues to supply His grace so that others can see Jesus in our acts of Christmas-like generosity. God's indescribable gift of Christ to us results in inexpressible gifts to those we meet everyday - the only gift that gives all year (2 Corinthians 9:7-8, 15)!
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift that we must honor in our hearts all year, every year!