Monday, December 23, 2013

When Christmas Isn't Perfect

Chances are this Christmas isn't going to be perfect.

Maybe there is going to be someone missing at the table.  Or you'll have an encounter with a relative who will rub you the wrong way.  Or perhaps yourself or someone you love is ill and the outlook is bleak.

Some will let this stop their celebration of Christmas in its track.  But Christmas isn't about perfect circumstances.  If it was the Son of God would have been born in a palace with a royal audience, not in a stable with no one to usher Him in but animals and teenage parents.

Christmas is about the light of the world entering our darkness and changing everything.  Bridging the gap once and for all between God and humanity and providing peace, strength and guidance for our journeys on this earth.

I pray this Christmas that will be the focus of your celebration: Jesus, who is God with us.  May His joy fill your heart even where happiness is absent.  May His peace calm your soul even where there is chaos.  And may His love be evident to you always.  Merry Christmas!

"For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Isaiah 9:6

Monday, December 02, 2013

Christmas Anticipation

Three Decembers ago at this time our entire family was anticipating the arrival of my brother and sister-in-law's first child.

People who normally wouldn't be found anywhere near the baby aisles in stores were coming home with things they picked up for the new baby. Baby showers were being planned and thrown. As the due date approached I even found myself carrying my cell phone, which at the time was very out of character, just in case my sister in law might go into labour when I wasn't at home or near a phone. There's a certain level of anticipation that surrounds the coming of a new arrival in a family. 

At this time of year we all take a time out from our regular routines in order to celebrate the arrival of a baby who came to our earth over 2000 years ago.  And I believe that if we don't add a similar element of anticipation and preparation into our celebrations we're missing out on something.

When parents are getting ready to welcome a baby into their family and the due date is coming close they have to decide what's important and what's not when it comes to their time and attention. They shift outside responsibilities away from themselves so that they are free to focus and prepare for the baby. Think about it- how often do you see soon to be parents undertaking a huge project at work or starting renovations on a house? No, usually a soon to be parent is more focused on things like getting the baby's room ready or last minute reading on delivery.

In the same way it would do all of us justice if we too stopped and examined what it is we are filling our time, energy and focus with as the days are quickly counting down before we celebrate the arrival of the Christ child.

Are we so busy with baking that we're neglecting the bible? 

Are we so focused on presents that we are neglecting praise? 

Are we so caught up in the rat race that we've forgotten what a gift of grace Jesus really is? 

The Christmas season should be a time of family and friends, but not a time when those blessings overshadow Who this whole thing is really all about and that is the baby Jesus. The One who traveled the ultimate distance just to live on this earth and pay the ultimate price for all of our sins. That is the Christmas story, that is our story, and that is something worth preparing for, anticipating and celebrating!