2016 is almost over, can you believe it? I can’t. This year has passed by incredibly quickly and here we are at Christmas already. The busyness has started, the trees are being purchased and decorated, the parties are being planned and attended. Commercials trying to sell us the perfect ‘holiday gift’ are coming at us non-stop, again. Car companies are even trying to convince us that purchasing a car or truck is a better idea than getting Christmas decorations. Ah, the madness.
As I sit and contemplate some of this I wonder, what is the Christmas season like for you? Do you look forward to it? Is it fun to make lists and shop and wrap and plan and run from party to party? Or is it tough and stressful and frustrating and lonely? Are your expectations high? Are they low? Are they being met? Are you happy?
The fact that we can ask these questions at all about a certain time of year makes Christmas a very unique season. We don’t consider these things in March or August. What are our expectations for October? Probably none; just living life and hopefully being successful at it. Just running our daily routines as best we can.
But not now. The emotional pressure on this time is year is massive. The expectation we have for our relationships is maybe the highest it will be all year. You know what? Some of those expectations will be met, and some won’t. It may be a great season, it may not. I assure you it will not be perfect.
But it can hold the ONE thing that changes everything else. There is one thing that makes this season the one we anticipate all year above every other. Whether or not the activity of the season ends up giving us what we want or think we need, Christ gives us something deep down that changes everything else. Joy.
God rest ye merry gentlemen let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from Satan’s power, as we have gone astray
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.
Joy is not about getting stuff or having our needs met with family activity. It’s not about just the right decorations or hitting all the right parties. Joy is deep and profound and personal. It is restful. It comes with Christ’s gift of salvation and the welling up of love and thankfulness in our hearts. It spills over in singing and laughing and maybe even dancing for ‘we were lost, but now we are found’. At Christmas we celebrate! Immanuel has arrived!
Let Christmas comfort you. Let joy fill you. Are you celebrating the deep gifts Christ put in you, this year? Let this be the engine that drives all your other activity. We have already received the greatest gift possible, Christ in us, the hope of glory. Let His gift fill you with joy and let it well up in you to overflowing. It will empower you with love to share with the people around you. Christ did that and we get to do the same.
God bless you this season. Celebrate. If you have a little left over, remember us in your year-end giving. We love you all.
Kurt Koster 12/12/2016