As you’re busy putting the last strand of twinkle lights away in the attic, the last thing you probably want to read is something to do with Christmas, right? It was great, and a good time was had by all, but come on Lisa, it’s January and we want to get on with the newness of our year and look forward– not back.
I get it. I really do. But I wanted to share a little something with you guys that impacted the way I entered into this this new year, and it all started on Christmas Eve.
I’m not overtly materialistic, but I need to reign things in on Christmas morning so I don’t become overwhelmed in all the “presents” and forget to celebrate His “presence”. Does that happen to you, too? Do you struggle to keep CHRIST in Christmas?
On Christmas Eve it’s our tradition to sit around the tree and discuss what it is we are about to celebrate. We reign each other in before the craziness of Santa Claus and the reindeer and the toys take over our every thought. Right before bedtime we read the story of Jesus’ birth from the book of Luke. Thankfully, my kids understand first and foremost it’s Jesus’ birthday that we are celebrating!!
This year after we read from our family Bible, my youngest son asked me a little question that has had a great impact on me. He asked, “What did we get Jesus for His birthday?” As I sat and thought about that question, I had no idea how to answer him. Truthfully, I was sort of speechless. Gee, What DID we get Jesus for His birthday?
My son knows that in our house, birthdays are a big deal! It was a perfectly great question, and I was left wondering, what does Jesus want for His birthday, anyway?
The answers can vary, and I assume, be pretty personal. I did some research and after looking into scripture, LOVE seems to be a pretty big deal to our Lord!
When we turn to The Word we see that the love Jesus teaches us to emulate is an action, not simply a feeling. Love God, with your whole being—all you’ve got,”with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence” (Luke 10:27 The Message) and, love your neighbor as yourself.
In another setting, Jesus responds to a question about God’s final accounting (Matthew 25:31-40). Those who inherit the Kingdom (receive God’s blessing) are those who feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, provide a room for the homeless, clothes for the poor, and spend time with the sick and those incarcerated. This is true faithfulness and love for Christ: “Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40 The Message).
Later, to Christians, Paul spelled it out even more: Love must be genuine (Romans 12:9). Genuine love is expressed through mutual affection (being really good friends), playing second fiddle, energetically persevering in caring, inventive, entrepreneurial in hospitality to strangers and good friends alike, blessing enemies, sharing the laughter and tears of others, living in harmony with all, with humility. Real love refrains from revenge and judgment, looks for the best in everyone, lets God judge, and takes the initiative in doing simple acts of kindness and generosity.
Is it just me, or does this sound exactly like Christmastime?
Christmas is the one time of the year when most of us really try to actively love our fellow man. We give MORE of ourselves, we judge others LESS and we LOVE without hesitation. In fact, the act of forgiveness is more abundant during this season than any other time of the year!
What if for his birthday present we choose to give Jesus the gift of following His “love plan” throughout the whole upcoming year? Living like it’s Christmastime towards our fellow man for the next 365 days; sharing the Light of the World all year, not just one month out of the year!
That’s my resoultion for 2011. Its inception came about on Christmas Eve, thanks to a child who was innocently wondering how we could celebrate a very special birthday.
Merry rest of the year, my friends!!