Sunday, December 27, 2015

Officially Over...Or Is It?

Whew!  Christmas is officially over, finished, done….well, almost done.  The decorations still need to come down and Jan. 1, 2016 is still in front of us.  But the preparations: baking, shopping, wrapping, opening of gifts…pretty much in the past.  It was wonderful but I look forward to moving into the “routine” of life.

For us, it was a very special time.  Our grandson, Jacob, age 4 ½, participated in the Christmas Eve service at church and that was a “first” for all of us.  Jacob was born with Down syndrome which makes his participation with other children extra special.  My heart was on overflow; his grandpa “assisted” him on stage and Jacob’s daddy sat next to me.  Lenny and I were fighting the tears.

The children sang beautiful songs using gestures and sign language to further illustrate the joyful messages of the music.  It was magical….almost like doing a dance and I have to believe God’s heart was happy.  We honored the baby Jesus’ birth with all we had!

So all of that is behind us….or is it?  There are key words associated with the Jesus celebration, the story that describes His life-changing, history-making birth.  (Or, as our pastor mentioned in his message, Jesus wasn’t really created for the first time in Bethlehem; Jesus has ALWAYS been.  But then and there He was born into an earthly body.) 

Words:  angel, virgin, conceived, betrothed, birth, son, Jesus, Messiah, kingdom, SAVIOR, Immanuel.  Many of those words tend to disappear from our usage once Christmas is over.  They describe a specific event that we “celebrate” and then we move on.

I’d like to suggest we camp here for a moment.  Shouldn’t we really live in a state of “celebration” all year ‘round?  Those shepherds, the lowliest of the current social strata, were given the best news ever, before anyone else heard it.  The angels came to them and their response was to immediately go see this baby.  In Luke 2:15, they say, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”  They knew God had sent those angels and once they experienced Jesus, they could not wait to tell others!

As we go into 2016, my challenge (and maybe yours?) is to live Christmas in my daily life.  We have received the greatest news ever: that Jesus was born into this messy sinful world.  His birth was foretold by God’s prophets and He arrived just as God had promised. 

My journey with Jesus may start at Christmas but continues all the way to the cross (Good Friday) where He suffered and paid the price for my sins!  (and yours!) And after a brief time of sadness…EASTER ARRIVES! (the final victory over the grave!)

(I know, I just used a lot of exclamation points in the above paragraph…but all of that can’t be described with anything but exclamation points!)

Because I believe in Jesus and have made Him Lord, the Bible says I am totally reassured that nothing can separate me from His love. (Romans 8: 31-39)  May God give me many opportunities in 2016 to share that wonderful news!  This world so needs to know that Christmas can be embraced all year!