One week into December and we are right in the middle of the Christmas season. I love Christmas, I always have. My memories of Christmas down through the years were always very positive.
The ancient beginnings of Christmas are controversial for many. Some hold that Christmas originated out of pagan beliefs and practice. Yet others affirm that Christmas, from the very beginning, was designed to honor the birth of our Savior sent to rescue mankind.
Frankly I don’t lose any sleep over these controversies. It is up to me to keep the right focus on what Christmas represents. There are several reasons why I celebrate Christmas:
1. Christmas is an opportunity to share the message of Jesus Christ.
Every day is important to make known the saving message of Jesus. But the Christmas season provides an opportunity to talk about Jesus in the middle of traditions that point back to the birth of Christ. Certainly, the true message of Jesus can become obscured within the season. This is even more the reason to keep the Biblical message of Jesus at the forefront of conversations and traditions.
2. Christmas is an opportunity to choose generosity over selfishness.
The Christmas season always brings to the forefront the conflict of getting things I want or being generous towards others. Christmas is a great occasion to choose generosity. This is not about getting out and doing more shopping. Instead, generosity is an attitude of putting others first, rather than focusing on just myself. Christmas should be a reminder to have a sacrificial love for others.
3. Christmas is an opportunity to bring people together.
Christmas is a time for community. There has never been a Christmas season in my life without gathering together as family, with friends or as a church community. It’s hard to miss a nativity scene during the Christmas season.
Manger scenes are a picture of Jesus Christ, from the very start, drawing together unlikely people…an ordinary young woman, her carpenter husband, shepherds and three wise men. The manger scene is about community, all focused on Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world who has arrived.
I invite you to visit a church this Christmas season and Christmas Eve. My pastor friends and I in Seeley Lake would love to have you join us. The church is the most important community, a family of gathered followers of Jesus Christ. The church is entrusted to proclaim the most important message of Christmas.
4. Christmas is an opportunity to celebrate lives forever changed.
The message of Christmas is that God has entered our dark and hurting world to forever change lives. The change comes from turning away from our desire to rebel against God, and instead choose the life God intended for us. The good news announced by the angels is that a Savior has arrived to rescue humanity.
The King born in Bethlehem did not come to be an earthly ruler, but to rule in our hearts. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the power to transform our lives and bring us peace with God. The Christmas season is my opportunity to look to Jesus as the greatest news there is.