Friday, December 24, 2010
Oh Holy Night
Call me sappy, or even cliche, but I absolutely adore and cherish Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
I'm not going to generalize in my post today. No, I'm going to be very personal and specific on my feelings when it comes to Christmas. There's no doubt I completely enjoy the time spent with family and friends during this time of year, and I also enjoy the opportunity to give gifts in appreciation to others. Food is unmatched in quality and quantity as we celebrate, and everyone seems to be just a bit nicer to one another for whatever reason.
But for me, there is no other time during the year that I feel closer to God. Honestly. Not to seem or come across overly pious or righteous, I strive each day to walk with my Lord and spend time in His Word and conversing. Granted, some days are more successful than others, but any lacking falls directly on me or my efforts to draw close while trying to keep the distraction of the world at bay.
I was asked to pray before service this past Wednesday night, and in a moment of shear humility and appreciation, I stumbled as I prayed expressing gratitude to God Almighty for the greatest gift every given to mankind. For a second, I was overcome by the magnitude of what that gift means..not just during Christmas...but forever and ever as I will one day be transformed into a state of evermore...into eternity. Praise God for such a gift! An undeserved, unobtainable gift only available because of His love and grace for us.
As Christians, we profess things like "Jesus is the reason..." and "Keep Christ in Christmas", and I absolutely support the effort to remind the world Christmas starts with Christ. But, it is during the 30 hours or so starting on Christmas Eve that I find myself in constant reflection on what it must have truly been like for a poor, travelled Jewish couple...away from home...to watch as the Savior of all mankind came into the world. God chose Mary and Joseph, and as people of faith in God, there must have been an unbelievable feeling of peace fall upon both of them as they looked upon God's promise. A feeling of certainty that no other parent at no other time in history has ever experienced. They gazed upon the Almighty in such a fragile form...but still omnipotent and completely in control.
I heard a wonderful sermon last week on the unsung hero of the nativity story - Joseph. His wife Mary is the subject of numerous songs and stories encompassed in Christmas. Even the shepherds, wise men and stable animals have prominent places of display in the nativity scene. While I ponder and reflect on the role each one plays in the ongoing narrative that continues to move closer and closer to the world's final moment, my mind is incapable of understanding the immense amount of love Jesus had to leave Heaven, separate from His Father and walk daily in a world infused with sin.
Granted, I know I should strive for such appreciation daily in my life and not just at Christmas. I truly do. But during the festival we refer to as Christmas with all the tinsel, lights and other flashy pageantries, one miracle dominates my thoughts and emotions without question...Jesus.
He is the only reason I can be closer to my Father.
Merry Christmas and I pray God lives in you this and every other day throughout the year.