It’s CHRISTmas Time!

Christmas is a time to spend with your families…it’s a time when we all sit back and analyze our lives.  We reflect on family members that pass on, we reflect on family and friends, and we reflect on our lives as a whole.  A number of people use their Christmas cards to send mass letters to update family and friends on their lives over the past 12 months.  We use Christmas to reflect on a majority of things, but due to the commercialization of Christmas, are we forgetting to reflect on the reason we celebrate all together?

Christmas in many cases has become about that perfect present, the perfect tree, and the perfect light show…but with all the hustle and bustle…where is the Perfect Son in all of this?  With all the hoopla around Christmas these days, are we making time for Jesus?  I can remember when I was younger seeing signs everywhere that said, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.”  Now, those signs have faded into the background; those signs have been replaced by signs that read, “70% off”, “Buy one, get one Free”, and “Financing Available”.

Why have we let the materialism of Christmas override the Reason we celebrate?  Why have we seemingly become like Peter in his denial of Christ, by taking Christ out of Christmas?  What was so hard when Jesus was the Center of our Christmas Experience?  What has changed?

We can blame it on a number of things…but it all comes down to one thing…YOU and I!  We need to refocus our Christmas; we need to refocus our lives…we need to refocus on Jesus.  Not just for December 25, but everyday of our lives…if our day revolved around Christ as the centerpiece, our Christmas would revolve around the reason we celebrate.  Everyday should be CHRISTmas … Everyday we should celebrate the birth of our Lord.

Everyday we should be thankful for the love of a Father who would send his Son to this world with a plan for salvation.  God looked at the world, saw OUR sin, and knew there was only ONE way to save us from ourselves…JESUS CHRIST!  This Christmas, remember your focus…remember the reason…remember Christ this CHRISTmas.

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C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S.

I can remember growing up and hearing a song that my dad sang in church once when I was a young child.  In fact, I can remember hearing the chorus and taking it all in to view the true meaning of Christmas as a young man.

The chorus was simple, yet powerful when discussing Christmas day, and I would encourage each of you to take a moment this week and truly focus on what Christmas truly means.  If you have children, share it with them, and let us all get back to the true meaning of why we celebrate Christmas…let’s remember this Christmas to keep Christ in it and tell the story of a Savior that was born to save the world.

The verse of the song talks about being a child and Christmas meaning just one thing…getting presents.  I feel this is the common thought that goes through the mind of children everywhere…you can see it in their eyes when they enter a room.  For many of them, the first place they head is to the tree to count how many presents they have.  The song continues with the writer mentioning their mother sitting them down and teaching them to spell C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S. The Chorus of the song fits into the acronyms that I have been doing over the past few weeks, and goes like this:

“’C’ is for the Christ child, born upon this day; ‘H’ for herald angels in the night.  ‘R’ means our Redeemer, ‘I’ means Israel. ‘S’ is for the star that shone so bright. ‘T’ is for three wise men, they who traveled far; ‘M’ is for the manger where He lay.  ‘A’’s for all He stands for, ‘S’ means shepherds came and that’s why there’s a Christmas day.”

As we approach the Christmas season, let us look upon Christmas by remembering the real reason for why we celebrate the birth of the Savior.  Another song that can help put it into perspective during this season is “Christmas is all in the Heart” by Steven Curtis Chapman.

Chapman touches on the subject of Christmas with sincerity and heartfelt reality that can hit home during the times we are in during the Christmas season.  One set of the song’s lyrics sum it up this way:

“No, it’s not in the snow that may or may not fall, and it’s not in the gifts around the tree. It’s in the love heaven gave, the night our Savior came, and that same love can still be found wherever you are, ‘Cause Christmas is all in the heart.”

I would encourage each of you to look over every aspect of the season, focusing on the true meaning.  You may not have the money to have a great Christmas (in the eyes of the world), but in the eyes of the Lord, you can have the best Christmas you have ever had when you realize the most amazing gift that you have ever received – Jesus Christ.

Is Jesus the focus of your Christmas season?  Are you able to celebrate Christmas, even if only in your heart?  Focus on the true meaning of Christmas this year and share it with your children and those around you.  Take the time to read the Christmas story, but remember that Christmas doesn’t end with the manger; Christmas ends with the Cross of Calvary, where the joy of the Christmas season ends with the redemption of the world.  Jesus came to the world to save the world, and it all started in a manger in Bethlehem.

Dark Days

I have become more aware lately of Dark Days that we all tend to face…the reality is that we are either entering dark days, living in them, or coming out of them…but for the most part, we are all facing them or leaving them behind, but we all tend to have them.

These days can come in many forms, disappointment, despair, distress, doubt, depression…no matter the description, dark days can truly break us down and cause us to question a lot of things.  We feel that we are alone in our battle…maybe it didn’t go the way that we had quite hoped.  Just speaking Biblically there are many stories in scripture that we see similar stories.

Job, obviously had some dark days…he lost everything, but in the end he realized that God had always been working on his behalf. When the world came against him, Job trusted and praised God.

Peter didn’t plan to deny Christ, even when he was told he would, yet, when the time came, Peter denied Christ three times and found himself in some of the darkest of days.

Uncertainty, doubt, depression can overcome us and leave us feeling less than stellar on many days, and if we begin to rest in those days we find ourselves even deeper than we could have ever imagined.  I don’t think that Mary thought that her bringing a baby boy who was God’s own son into the world would happen in a stable, but yet it did; and the reality is, no matter our circumstances, light can still pierce the darkness.

That light…Jesus.  Jesus is the light that has already pierced the darkness for us, but we many times allow things to cast shadows and leave us in a false darkness, not realizing that He is right there with us.  Today, remove those shades, and allow the light of Christ to crash the darkness in your life. No matter how difficult the struggle that you face, God can and will work through the circumstances to bring you out of those dark days.

The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t always the train.