Merry Christmas everyone! We had a great time last Sunday at our celebration and dinner provided by our friends at The Heights Baptist Church in Richardson. We are thankful for the food and generous gifts. Special thanks also goes out to Diana Stevens who again made the elaborate Christmas baskets for everyone this year full of all kinds of good things. I was afraid I would have to deliver this Sunday’s message early and without any real preparation when the van got stuck in traffic, but everyone made it just in time. Pastor David read the Christmas story and encouraged us to believe it and listen for the angels singing.
This week I want to share with you something that God is doing in my heart and that I think will bless you too. Most of us really enjoy this time of year, but it can also be hard. Maybe we have sad memories. Maybe we feel overwhelmed by the expectations that we feel are placed on us. Maybe we just don’t like what we see happening to the season, or maybe we even have some conscientious objection to celebrating it. The truth is that the timing is wrong and many of the trappings are adopted from pagan practice.
What God is showing me is that we have been given a gift, and we should rejoice in it and make full use of it. Have you considered that even amidst the commercialization and even anti-Christmas attitudes that we’ve seen in recent years, this is still a time of year when people are more open to hearing about Jesus than at any other time? Though less often than we might like, you can still be out shopping and hear Christmas carols in the stores. People who are normally uninterested in anything to do with Christianity will attend Christmas presentations, put up manger scenes, and maybe even go to church!
We have a wonderful opportunity here. Howe will we use it? Will we get all wrapped up in the trappings and forget the purpose, which is to celebrate the coming of the Savior of the world? Will we shun it entirely as I confess I have wanted to do in the past? Or will we take advantage of the gift of this season to share the real Gift of the season? Let’s do that!
But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence (1 Pet. 3:15 NASB)