As we enter into this season of Advent and Christmas, I am always amazed at all of the advertisements that are thrown my way. My kids pick them up, wide-eyed, and think that they have to have it all! They have to have all of the toys, all of the games, all of the electronics, all of the… well, you get the point. And I feel constantly barged by postings online about how to help my family have the perfect Christmas. I need to have a Gingerbread House Party, and I need to bake cookies for all of my neighbors, and I need to decorate my house from top to bottom inside and out, and I need to make snowmen with my children followed by fresh cookies and hot chocolate, and I need to… well, I am sure that you also get the point. And of course if I don’t do all of these things and buy all of the wonderful gifts, then Christmas will just be ruined, along with my children’s childhood. Oh the pressure!! It is enough for me to throw my hands up and give up on the Christmas spirit all together!
So what really is the true meaning of Christmas? We all have heard it: “Jesus is the reason for the season”… but what does that really mean? I mean, yes Jesus did come to earth, and we sing about his birth and arrival all of December…. we make sure to go to Christmas Eve service and sing “Silent Night” while lighting our candles. But what does it truly mean for us and our lives here in 2015?
Often times during this Christmas season, we stop at baby Jesus in the manger and forget to figure out what this story should really look like for our lives today. Yes, Jesus was born in a manger, but he also grew up, was God here on earth, performed countless miracles, and showed us the way to live and to love. This powerful story of Christmas should completely transform our lives. It should be a remembrance of how much God loves us and how God keeps promises, as well as be a challenge for us to grow deeper in our faith and living the life that we are called to live. And ultimately, it should move us beyond the manger and beyond ourselves to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a world that is hurting and so desperately needs to know God’s love and peace and hope and grace.
So this year, let this story transform your life. Let this be more than just a season filled with busyness and buying presents and filling our lives with all of the perfect experiences so that our children are not scarred forever. Let the Christmas season truly transform your life, change you and challenge you. May you be more in tune with God who loves you and so desires a relationship with you. May you feel God’s love and peace and hope in your life and in your family’s life. And may you go out and be the hands and feet of Jesus in a hurting world that needs to know God’s love. Christmas blessings to you and your family!