Christmas Message 2020
I want to take this time to wish everyone a merry Christmas and a healthy and blessed new year. We all had to adjust and adapt this year, going through some challenging times that looking back we can hardly remember how we’ve ever gotten through them. But, we are grateful that we’ve made it, and I’m thankful that these challenges have forced us to remember and value what is truly important in our lives. Family, friends, and faith. I'm glad Christmas is here in a difficult year like this one. It reminds me of God's ever faithfulness and helps us think about the true meaning of Christmas. Here are three things I'm thinking about on this Christmas day.
JOY. Not a word that we hear often these days. With all that’s been going on and the losses big and small we’ve all experienced, joy is not something we feel much in our spirit these days. But, perhaps, it’s because of this very lack of feeling joyful that we long for true joy that goes beyond our feelings and circumstances. Because the Joy of Christmas is something that comes from above and beyond. It comes from beyond our personal achievements and gains. It comes from above our own lives here on earth. It is what comes from high above. From heaven, delivered to us in the form of our savior, a gift we didn’t deserve, and we gladly and JOYFULLY receive it with our hearts wide open. Because we NEED it, ever so desperately. In short, the joy of Christmas is not in what we already have or gained in our lives but a realization of what we don’t yet have but need and the gratefulness of receiving it freely from the one above. I’m joyful this Christmas morning because I have received something that I couldn’t have, and that’s Jesus Christ my savior.
HOPE. Where would we be this year if we didn’t have it. If the word didn’t exist in our vocabulary, or the concept didn’t resonate with us in our soul, where would we be, to what could we have turn. We hung in there when things raveled around us, because we had a hope that things would get better soon. When things didn’t get better as expected and actually gotten worse, we clung on to what we could and dig deeper into our souls because we knew we could hope in something beyond us, the one who would give us strength and power that we didn’t think we could have. Ultimately, we have hope that there is something beyond this life, a power greater than all of this, a justice that is beyond all struggles of this life, a love that covers all faults. In this higher power, we put our hope. And that helps us to endure, survive, and continue to live on.
And that leads me to my last one, LOVE. Christmas is ultimately about God’s love. It is to tell the world that there is God the creator who loves us as his own. This love is what gives us the hope that we need in our lives, as discussed. This love, however, is not just what God gives us into our lives but what God strengthens us to do in the lives of others. To accept and value others as God has us. To forgive others because we are equally forgiven by God, if not more. To share with and care for others because that is what God's love compels us to do. Love is what saved us, and love is what will continue to save us. Love that we have from God, but also love we feel inside of us toward others. Loving others, in some sense, is what continues to save us in this life. And that's why Jesus came into this world two thousand some years ago.
So on this Christmas day, I’m thinking of Joy, Hope, and Love. It’s true that these aren’t anything new. Yes, I’ve thought about these on a Christmas day before. But, this year, they mean a little more to my soul. I long for the joy above and beyond. I have hope because of God. And I’m in love, and pray to continue to be in love, with God, and with this world that God so loves. May the deep joy, hope, and love of our Lord Jesus Christ fill all of your hearts and souls ever more fully and freely on this Christmas Day!