I am loving Christmas time right now.
Seriously, LOVING it!
In fact, I can’t remember enjoying the lead-up to Christmas this much in years and years! So why am I so BUZZIN about Christmas? To be honest, I think it’s because I’ve had the time and head-space to really take it all in.
- To study Scripture.
- To meditate on the mystery.
- To ponder God’s perfect salvation plan.
- To revel and rest and rejoice in the Redeemer.
- To wander into wonder and wondrous worship.
- To thankfully think and thoughtfully thank my Saviour.
But why does this year feel so different to so many of my recent Christmases? Here’s why – I’ve got TIME! What I mean by that is that for the last 17 years I have been involved in full-time Christian ministry (I still am, you’ll be pleased to know!) But this is the first time in almost a decade that I haven’t had a CRAZY amount of Christmassy stuff to sort out – church events, outreach concerts, carol singing etc. on top of all the usual stuff like attending my kids’ school productions, visiting family, buying gifts etc. This year the only thing we’re involved in organising is an international carols event in our new community (more about that in a future post). And I’m doing a few preaches here and there. But I’m probably only doing about 25-50% of the amount of stuff that I am used to doing at this time of year.
And the result is that I have had time to actually enjoy Christmas. To study, meditate, ponder, revel, wonder and worship. But mingled with my enjoyment have been 2 strong thoughts that I want to share:
- SINCERE GRATITUDE for all those brothers and sisters who serve their socks off to make Christmas such a blessing – both for believers and the hordes of unbelievers who often attend church at this time of year. Christmas undoubtedly provides one of the best opportunities to impact our communities in the whole year and it is right to take that opportunity. So in all sincerity THANK YOU to all who are working and will work so hard this Christmas time. I pray that you will know great joy as you serve. But I also have another emotion rising up…
- LOVING CONCERN for all those who, like myself over recent years, might miss the beauty of the incarnation because they are just so busy. So rushed. So wrapped up in what they are doing for Christ that they neglect to focus on what Christ has done for them. And that’s where the true wonder of Christmas is to be found. After a marathon trek to Bethlehem Mary birthed the Saviour of the world in a cattle shed. And after a rabble of scruffy shepherds had gatecrashed the scene to worship her newborn baby, the Bible tells us that “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2 v 19) In the midst of the glorious, mysterious mayhem of it all – Mary took time to treasure the true joy of Christmas – the birth of Jesus and the dawn of redeeming grace.
This Christmas, can I implore you to make the most of the opportunities that the season will provide to gather and to give, to sing and to serve, to praise and proclaim the good news. And of course spend time with family and friends wearing dodgy paper hats and watching the Great Escape (again!) But please, Please, PLEASE take time to remember what…or should I say who…it’s really all about! I know it’s a cheesy old cliche but Jesus IS the reason for the season!
Be sure to make space and take time to treasure Him this Christmas!