‘Tis the season to be silly. And joyful. And aware of life in its entirety.
Smiles are easy to come by during this time of year. People–typically–are kinder, more thoughtful, and gracious to those around them because it’s understood that it’s a good idea. Giving is easier because gifts are so much a part of what we do. Kids write letters to Santa Claus. People drop hints as to what they want. Commercials encourage lavish giving of everything possible, from jewelry to appliances to clothes.
Abundance is celebrated. Opulent spending is expected.
True joy and gladness aren’t found in accumulating stuff. Belongings can’t fill an empty, lonely heart. Possessions can’t cover up the pain of wounds given by others we expected to care for us. Worldly goods can’t connect with our hearts when all we want is a conversation with someone who cares.
We anticipate the smiles as kids sit on Santa’s lap or people see folks they haven’t seen for a long time.
What we may not see are those whose smiles hide the fears of not having enough to give their kids gifts. Those who may not have enough food to feed their families, or whose smiles cover loneliness and despair. There are people who struggle with health issues that keep them from having any hope of seeing a new year.
War doesn’t take a break for the holidays. Poverty is real and persistent. Mental health issues plague many with despair that seems endless.
We celebrate–but do we know why? We enjoy a season–but does it cost us more to enjoy what we don’t understand or can’t afford?
Jesus came to bring hope to a despairing world. He came to release us from the burden of unforgiveness, guilt, and shame so we might be free to live with the anticipation of eternity with Him in heaven.
It’s not about fun costumes, silly hats, or presents burdening our credit cards. It’s not about decorations or parties or Secret Santas.
Christmas is the birth of hope to restore us to a relationship with God who created us. To be bonded to the One who made us in love and desires to live with us so we may be all we can be.
I don’t want to miss the faces all around me. I want to see people for who they are, for what they’re experiencing, and to care for them now.
That’s what Christmas is about. The promise of the life we can’t achieve for ourselves–heaven. The joy of never being alone even when no one is around. Jesus is God with us. Emmanuel.
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31b
Christmas is about connecting with the one face that can change our lives.
Do you see Him?
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