Monday, November 30, 2009

Is Christmas Really the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

What is the first word that comes to your mind when you think about Christmas? Joy? Family? Friends? Pain? Loneliness? Debt? How do you feel about celebrating Christmas this year? Christmas can be one of the most difficult times of the year for many people. For some Christmas is a time when poor and difficult family relationships are magnified. Once again the wounds are open. They feel sad and alone—and it’s all intensified by Christmas, a family-oriented holiday. Others wish they didn’t have to celebrate Christmas at all. Family relationships are strained by past angry words and actions. If they invite family over, what’s it going to be like? Are they going to be kind to one another? Will they argue? They fear another ordeal. Some people have lost family members in the past year. The thought of trying to celebrate anything, let alone a holiday, without that dear person distresses them. In these times with many people out of work and the general economic downturn, the thought of having to buy gifts even for family members adds much stress for people with limited funds. Retailers fill the airwaves and print media with ads telling us what items we “must have” to be cool and up-to-date. Have you thought, “Why can’t I experience the joy so many others seem to have?” Don’t be taken in by commercials telling you what your Christmas should be. Christmas is not Santa Claus, mistletoe, or a beautifully decorated home with lots of presents under the tree. It’s not even getting together with family. Christmas is all about a baby who was laid in a manger with the shadow of a cross looming over it. Jesus was born to die so that you and I might be forgiven of all—every last one—of our sins and our failures. He came to reconcile us to God, our Creator, and to make us new creations!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 (NIV)
Christmas is about the gift of unconditional love. A love that heals wounds and transforms hearts. It’s about receiving the love of God and then giving it to others. And if you know this and accept it and live accordingly, Christmas can become one of the most wonderful times of the year. The genuine love of Christ is so needed in our world where many are hurting and desperate for love. You are beloved of Christ. Reach out and touch others with that love. Make Christmas your most wonderful time of the year.

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