Christmas is only a couple of days away! Are you excited, stressed, depressed? It seems there are a myriad of emotions felt during the holidays. I am fortunate that my feelings are on the positive side. I love Christmas and all of the parties, family, food and fun associated with it. I love the advent season which precedes Christmas and the joy of anticipation this time of year brings. But as I have grown older, the thing I love most about Christmas is the celebration of Jesus. Santa Claus, trees, lights and gifts are great fun but the older I get it seems Christmas becomes more and more simple for me. The celebration becomes more about the person of Jesus and the Joy He brought the world.
We always chat up the “reason for the season” but for me the “reason” actually becomes more the “season” every Christmas. At least this has been the case for the last several years. We can all be distracted by festivities of Christmas and I’m not immune to such but increasingly Jesus and middle age seem to be focusing me on the reality of what Christmas is all about.
Jesus left heaven. If I stop right here and think long on what this means it’s mind boggling. Jesus left all the glory and perfection of Heaven to be born a man on earth. He was born in a manger to poor folks at a time which lacked many of the comforts and amenities we enjoy today. He was born into a sin sick and cruel world completely the opposite of all Heaven is. This is where my mind goes when I hear Christmas songs and see the Christmas trees. This is a celebration about Jesus and His humility, love, mercy and grace.
Jesus left heaven for you and me. I can’t comprehend the value God places on my life. I know me! I am not worth what He paid for me (at least not in my estimation). But, God estimates my worth quite a bit differently than I do (for this I am thankful). He valued me, you and the rest of humanity in such a way that the price paid for our redemption was worth it to Him. Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so, but Jesus showed me so by leaving heaven to be born for me.
Jesus left heaven to die. He didn’t just leave heaven to be born and live but also to die. This wasn’t any ordinary death but a cruel and horrible one by which He would save the world. He was born to suffer and save.
Jesus left heaven to rise. The story of the earthly life of Jesus begins in the manger but it ends in an empty tomb. Jesus left heaven to die and rise from the dead so we might be assured of eternal life. His story is one of final victory over both sin and death.
Christmas means Jesus. I am so thankful for parents who helped me see as much as a child. But, even more than this, I am thankful for the Holy Spirit which continues to open my eyes to the wonder and mystery of the real story of this time of year. I pray you experience some of the same “wonder” as you enjoy all the next few days have in store.
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