"I bring you good tidings of great joy which is for all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10 & 11
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." 1 John 4:9-11
"We love Him because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19
I must admit I've been struggling to find my Christmas spirit this year, and have pondered a few times what my problem might be. You see, I love Christmas. It is my absolute favorite time of year. But this year I seemed to lack some of my enthusiasm for decorating and preparing for all the festivities.
It bothered me. If it's supposed to be joy to the world, why have I been feeling like the Grinch stole Christmas.
In past years I could hardly wait to decorate the house. Thanksgiving meant the beginning of the holiday season and I would eagerly rush to put all the Christmas decorations out the day after the big turkey meal. The front porch was usually the first thing to be decorated, and as the days progressed the inside of the house would take on the joyous atmosphere. The Christmas village was carefully placed so little eyes could view it with awe and wonder, but little hands couldn't reach.
For some reason, this year I've been dragging in my zeal. Not wanting the holiday to slip by, I have baked cookies and made candy, lightly decorated the front porch, and even put decorations on a small artificial tree, but the village has yet to be unpacked. My eldest granddaughter was the first to notice it's absence, and when she inquired about it I said I might not put it up this year.
I could see the disappointment in her face. Suddenly I was beginning to feel like the Grinch.
Troubled by my attitude, I searched for the source of my reluctant spirit. I discovered it in a statement from a friend. I had asked her to pray for someone I knew who had been introduced to Jesus Christ, but lacked passion about their relationship with Him. Her comment was simple, but profound: "Oh, I see, he isn't in love with Jesus."
There it was, the essence of what has been bothering me all along.
Christmas is the celebration of God's gift to mankind, His Son, Jesus Christ, yet I watch a world put on a fashion show celebrating a holiday season. Even in those who still call it Christmas I see limited evidence of those who are truly in love with Jesus. It hurts my heart and frustrates me, not only because I adore Jesus Christ, but find I have become guilty of the same crime. Too much of what I do during this season is in response to the commercialization of Christmas, rather than the essence.
Humbled by my own heart's attitude, I ask forgiveness as I approach the manger once again. With child-like awe and wonder I reflect on the gift. Out of His great love for us, God sent His only begotten Son into this harsh and cold world as a baby in a manger, so that we might know Him. All He asks in return is that we love Him. It is love beyond my ability to comprehend.
As I reflect and worship, my Christmas spirit returns. I am now exited to put up the village for the grand kids because I love them. I will also be certain to direct their attention to the creche that was lovingly made by my mother, their great grandmother, and share with them her deep love for Jesus. I will then tell them how much I adore Him and why I am so thankful He came to rescue me from darkness and sin. I can't wait to tell any and all who are willing to listen, how much He loves each of us, and the extreme measure He went to in trying to rescue us from our self-destructive ways.
Christmas is coming! Joy to the world! All we need to do is find the baby in the manger and bow before Him in adoration and praise. Come, let us adore Him! Share the good news and push back the darkness that tries to hide the light. Celebrate His love like you've never celebrated before, and definitely don't let the Grinch steal Christmas!