Merry Christmas to one and all! It is my joy to share the joy of this day with you, and I wish you special moments with friends and family and a deepening connection with the Christ Child today.
One thing I have liked to do is to buy Christmas ornaments from places that I visit each year. This past year, on my vacation to Wisconsin I found a metal ornament in the shape of the state with a cutout of a hiker in the middle. It perfectly encapsulated my experience of hiking various parts of the state and rejoicing in God’s creation. I enjoyed putting that ornament on my Christmas tree this year.
What experience do you want to remember fondly from the past year as you celebrate Christmas today? The fact is the Christ comes to us in various ways not just at Christmas, but throughout the year. What “Christmas ornament” moment do you want to treasure today and give thanks to God for?
Today is a day to remember how the birth of Jesus Christ to save us from sin and death forever decorates our lives year after year. The beauty of his birth is something that is precious to us and something that needs to be celebrated often. Let this Christmas be the beginning of many more Christmas moments throughout the coming year, moments when we see the love of our Savior ornamenting our world.
When I was a kid, during the season of Advent we would always have a little manger scene out with the figures of Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, a shepherd and three wise men. It was a child-friendly set, with almost like a Lincoln Log stable and Fisher Price style figures (I know I am dating myself with these references).
I just recently learned that this manger scene was a wedding gift for my parents, who were married 50 years ago on December 27, 1967. What a wonderful wedding gift to give: the story of the birth of Jesus in tangible form to share with future children as part of a family tradition.
My parents still have those figures and they still put them out. And I am again reminded when I see them of the marvelous story of how Christ came to earth to save us.
One of my favorite songs on Christian radio these days is “Soul on Fire” by Third Day. Take a listen:
What I like most about this song is the strong beat and the positive uplifting tone. There is excitement and movement in being a Christian in the world that is sometimes lost in our often ordered and mannered worship.
The reality is that there is the fire of the Holy Spirit burning within our souls. And that Spirit’s fire needs to get out and spread to the people and circumstances around us.
And what helps us to release that Spirit’s fire from within us? As the song says, it is our desire through the Holy Spirit to be “running for (God’s) heart” and “longing for (God’s) ways.”