When This Christmas is "Different"

As the years go by our Christmas celebrations undergo change.  Even though there are treasured traditions that we often cling to, change is inevitable.  People who were once an intricate part of our Christmas time that are gone through death, divorce, a geographical move or estrangement can leave a cavernous hole in our hearts, especially this time of year.  Our culture, as a rule, doesn’t grieve very well.  Yet, as much as that hurt can be we can probably think of someone in our lives who is having a much harder time than we are this season and just the thought of extending some comfort their way can disengage us, in a small way, from our own loss.  

But truly, as strong as all those memories may be, today is a day set aside to focus on someone else.  It’s the celebration of Jesus’ birthday.  “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.  The government will rest on His shoulders.  And He will be called, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6 NLT).”    

It’s uplifting to consider, what kind of gift can I give to Him?  It may be a commitment to be more engaged with people this year and reach out where we normally wouldn’t.  It may be to pray more often and more fervently.  Perhaps our gift will be in the area of trusting God more and taking to heart that He does have plans for us and rely on His promise that His plans are good.  Perhaps there has been a nudge in our hearts – something we believe God wants us to do, but it is inconvenient, so it sits on the back burner of our minds.  Perhaps this is the year to turn up the flame and take a bold step of faith.  Maybe that gift will be a resolution to take God’s Word more seriously and notch up time spent reading the Bible and asking each day, “how does this effect me, and what would God want me to do today?  Maybe it’s forgiving a grudge or showing someone grace that reflects the love of God, even if they do not deserve it – keeping in mind when it comes to deserving grace, none of us qualify.  

The legend of the Little Drummer Boy asks what kind of gift do I have to offer a King?  Gifts of wealth or possessions did not propel Christ’s mission on earth.  It was the gifts of the Spirit and the heart that changed the world.  

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