Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas...It's not just December 25th!

Christmas... It’s not just December 25th!
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:10-14

As anyone who truly knows me knows.... I LOVE holidays .... especially the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas ... with Christmas being my absolute favorite. I love to decorate, cook, entertain, spend time with family and friends and even take time to reflect on the true meaning of the holiday and why we celebrate it. Due to my love of each individual holiday....I do not start one until the one before it is over....in other words...Christmas does not start before Thanksgiving much less Halloween! However, once Thanksgiving has passed....I start Christmas (remember it is my favorite). Most people will tell you I tend to go a little crazy on the decorations once I start, but I personally think it is just right! I love to look around and see all the lights and festive colors in every room....it makes me happy so why not?

However....I do know the true meaning of what we are celebrating! A tiny baby
man/God was born...He was born so He could be sacrificed and we would be saved from our
sins, be given grace and mercy in abundance and learn to be in fellowship with all mankind.
Do my decorations reflect that? Hard to say....I hope you see some little piece of that but
that is not the point to the story. The story as we know it does not really begin on December 25th!

We don’t know the exact date of Jesus’ birth just that December 25th is the date we were given to celebrate it on. So that is what we do! However, along with the gifts we were given from that little baby man/God there are serious responsibilities given as well. For theforgiveness of our sins....we must repent and ask for forgiveness, grace and mercy are God’s gifts freely given so I guess the responsibility that goes with them is thankfulness....we should always thank God for each act of grace and mercy we receive! I believe the one with the most responsibilities and most difficult to do is being in fellowship with all mankind. Sometimes mankind is not so easy to like much less love...fortunately God doesn’t say we have to like them but we are charged with loving them. That one little part is the biggest reason I say Christmas isn’t just December 25th!

The true meaning of Christmas is a life style choice...a state of mind...a change of heart...a decision we as Christ-like humans hopefully make at some stage of our lives. During the Christmas holiday, people are usually a lot nicer...more generous...more willing to help those in need....more in tune with that tiny baby....but aren’t all of those things the things we should be living every day? Not just December 25th? It isn’t easy but it is part of what we as Christians are charged with all because that tiny baby was born in a stable some starry night a long, long time ago! My hope and prayer for all of us this Christmas is that we hold on to that Christmas feeling all year long....or at least a little longer than we did last year and the year before!

Father God, thank you for the gift of Your Son and all the gifts we received through Him! I pray that we take to heart the responsibilities that go with those gifts and share Christmas all year long. I pray that every person that reads these stories receives something You have in store just for them so they may have life abundant. May Your forgiveness, grace, mercy and peace be with us today and everyday going forward as we celebrate another Christmas season! I ask all these things in the most holy and precious name of Jesus, that tiny man/God sent by You for our salvation! AMEN!

Sherri Swickard 

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