Christmas has always been my favorite time of year, but the reason has changed. As with all children, when I was a child, I loved Christmas for the presents. Church on Christmas Eve was something I tolerated, even though I liked the music and the decorations. I’d do anything to get to the presents. I still remember the smell of my freshly opened G.I. Joe figures, playing under the tree with all the toys on Christmas morning for an eternity. It seemed then that time stood still and all was right in the world.
In my college years and late twenties, Christmas became a time of nostalgia and a rejection of the popular commercialism. I remembered with a great fondness the joy that I had at Christmas, but for the first time saw the ravages of commercialism on the real meaning of Christmas. Courthouse squares were forced to remove their nativity scenes, Merry Christmas was changed to “Season’s Greetings” (whatever that means), and Christmas break from school was officially changed to Winter break.
Now that I have kids, I have another perspective on Christmas. I no longer really care what I get, I love the giving. I love seeing the joy and the excitement in my children, that look I had when I was a kid. I love recreating the warmth, the tradition, everything that I experienced at Christmas as a child.
But I know there is more to Christmas. As a Pastor, this is still my favorite time of the year, but for a different reason than mentioned above. I love this time of year, because it’s the perfect opportunity for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. People are hungry for the message. They know all too well the hunger of a people who dwell in darkness. They long for the presence of abiding love and comfort. They are searching, much as the shepherds and magi did, for the promised Messiah. What better opportunity to share Christ.
Earlier this week I came across a blog entitled, “An Uncomfortable Christmas card for Unbelievers Uncomfortable at Christmas.” This is excellent reading – check it out.
I am not ashamed, especially now, to share the message of Christ at Christmas. I wish all who love and live in Christ a Merry Christmas. For those who do not know Christ, I pray that you do not find rest until you find it in Him. I pray you do not know comfort until you know it in Him. I pray that Christmas seems shallow, until you finally come to know Christ.
Merry Christmas – SDG