Christmas, It's That Time of The Year

For God has done what the law, weakened by flesh could not do. 
By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh 
in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us,
who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8:3-4

It is easy to get caught up in the packaging of Christmas. It is however just as easy to get caught up in not getting caught up in the packaging of Christmas. Irony. It is a funny thing.

I love Christmas. The tacky ornaments. The glittery glow that seems to overtake the streets lit up with reindeers, Santa Clauses, and the like. I love having an excuse to give gifts. The idea of Santa Clause. Goodwill. I love hearing people exchanging ”Merry Christmas!” and seeing the smiles that seem to come with just saying the words. I do, I love Christmas.  It really is the most wonderful time of the year! Momma's homemade fudge. Her lemon pie. Dad's fiddling. My nephews, that I have not seen in a year. My new niece, that I have not seen at all. The three sisters together. Listening to the story of Jesus' birth. Singing 'Happy Birthday' to Jesus. New pajamas. Waking up at home. Grandparents. The Christmas Eve Service. 

To say that I am excited about Christmas this year would be an understatement. My heart is so full of Christmas excitement that I cannot stop fidgeting. I have not been this excitied for Christmas since, I still believed in Santa Clause. (And thanks to the convictions and perhaps overly informative nature of my older sister that has not been since our days in San Diego.) It is not just going home though. There is a newness about Christmas, that makes my heart rest easy when looking at the challenges just down the road. There is a new understanding of this celebration that makes life look a little different.

Christmas is more than hula hoops and planes that loops the loop. It is more than family time and eating time. It is more than giving presents to the poor. It is more than feeding the hungry. It is more than anything that we can do. It is more than any packaging could ever contain.

We get so caught in the silly wrappings of Christmas. In the warm fuzzy story of the baby boy. That we forget what a sacrifice it was just to even come.

The beautiful, the absolute amazingness of the story is that God, sent His Son. And He did not just send Him here, He sent Him here like us.  God became a baby. Humbled. He lived a life that taught us how to live. He died a death that made a way to know Him.  

I have a new appreciation for His arrival to this earth as a baby. I feel like a baby. Learning how to speak all over again. Learning to live. Do you understand what an amazing act of love His coming was? Do you know how hard it is to be humbled in this way? Any sense of control that I had over my life is gone. And I had very little to begin with, but He is God.  His birth, like his death it is an act of amazing love.  

That is the joy of Christmas.  I rejoice in that baby boy’s life, because it is His life that gave me life. I rejoice because I know that weight of my sin. The payment was paid in blood. My rejoicing is not a shallow happiness, but a heart wrenching soulful understanding that He loved me enough to pay the price that He put on my life.

I love Christmas. I love celebrating Christmas. But I will without hesitance say that if you are trying to celebrate Christmas without worshipping God- you are just enjoying a holiday. If you are placing more importance on the presents you are giving than thanking God for the gift of His salvation, you need to reorganize your priorities.

I always thought that Mary treasured things in her heart because she was Jesus’ mother. That she pondered them because they happened to her. (Luke 2:19) But I think it was more than that. Christ’s salvation is something to treasure. God’s work is something to ponder.

My prayer for you,  my brothers and sister in Christ is that this Christmas you will treasure your salvation. That you ponder the things God has done. Do not take Christmas with a lighthearted singing of 'Joy to the World' and forget that it is for those 'on whom His favor rest'. Do not forget that Christ's example was of humbling himself, not pleasing Himself. (Romans 15:3) Likewise we should live for others, not for ourselves.

And that if you do not know Him, I pray that you will call on Jesus’ name. That you will believe He came as a baby, that He lived and died, and that on the third day He rose. Conquering death. That you will ask Him for forgiveness. That you will let Him be a friend, that the joy that He brought to this earth so long ago will be yours.

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