Its that time of year again.............Christmas is almost upon us.
Are you ready? Have you done all your Christmas shopping, baking, decorating etc.? Just thinking about it all makes me feel tired! I wonder what God makes of all this commotion, I wonder what Christmas is really all about? You know what if you read Matthew 1:20 - 21 I think you will find the answer!
"But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appear to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
So you see despite all the commercialism that has over the years crept into Christmas, it was actually a God thing, it was His idea. God looked down on this earth over 2000 years ago, saw the state we were in, and the sin we were in, and decided that He needed to do something about it. Yes Christmas started in the heart of God! He saw that we were facing eternal death because of our sin and so He sent Jesus to save us. Even the very name Jesus means "The Lord Saves" God sent us the most precious gift that anyone could ever receive, the gift of eternal life through His son Jesus Christ. But you know that in order to appreciate a gift you must first receive it. We can think about how nice it would be to receive this or that for Christmas but unless we actually receive it we will never truly enjoy a gift no matter how precious it may be. Its one thing to know that there is a package down at the post office waiting for you but it quite another thing to go and collect it and then unwrap it. God's gift, Jesus Christ, must be believed and received personally. Christmas will never be complete for any of us until it reaches our hearts. Sometimes we try to make Christmas special by filing our house with lots of people and presents. Sometimes we try to get satisfaction from endless rounds of activities. We spend hours at the shops looking for that perfect gift. But despite the good intentions and good feelings we wont get satisfaction - not for long anyway. Some people don't like to celebrate Christmas because of changes that have happened in their lives. Their children have grown up and left home, a loved one has gone to be with our Lord, age and infirmities have dulled our enthusiasm to celebrate. But you know that the real reason for Christmas, the celebration of Jesus' birth was the first step in God's plan for saving us from eternal death. The plan came to fulfilment when Jesus said on the cross on Good Friday "It is finished" The bottom line is this. We can buy all the presents we like, we can decorate the tree and prepare a wonderful, mouth-watering Christmas dinner, we can celebrate joyfully with our family and friends, but lets remember this:
It can never really be Christmas for us until Christ lives in our hearts.
So I would encourage everyone this Christmas to accept the most precious gift that you could ever be given, allow Jesus to come into your hearts, and I can promise you that you will have the best Christmas ever!
Lord God, as we prepare for Christmas may we not fail to prepare ourselves for this great festival. Help us, amid all the busyness of these days, to find time to think of what Christmas really means; of your love for the world, of the coming of the promised Redeemer, of the mystery of the Word made flesh; and like Mary, may we treasure these things and ponder them in our hearts, so that we may be ready to join in the joyful worship of Christmas Day. To the glory of your name. AMEN