By John Bowen, Digital Content Director, Salem Media Group
Another Christmas has come and gone. My formerly tidy living room is now littered with piles of wrapping paper. Likewise, the television is now littered with After-Christmas sales going on at all points retail. Our job now is to pick up and pack up all the symbols and memories of Christmas to put them back in the attic.
And while picking up and packing up, many can’t help but feel a growing emptiness. All the build-up of the holiday season is now fast drawing to a close…and now, the anticipation, fixation, and emotion that are tied in to this single day are fading to a sudden emptiness and disappointment the day (or days) after Christmas. Perhaps that describes you -- the “joy of the season” is evaporating into another year of “day-to-day grind”. But is that what Christmas is about -- feelings of expectation and euphoria, followed by feelings of disappointment and despair? Or is there something more to be gained from the passing of Christmas Day?
In order to get a handle on this problem, let’s go back to why we celebrate Christmas. Christ’s birth was heralded by the angels as “good news which shall be for all the people”. The “good news” that Christ brings was not a proclamation of a day, or a month, or a season, but an invitation to an eternal paradise; good to anyone that asks for it throughout the rest of history!
Look through the Old Testament and find that Christ’s birth is actually the culmination of a centuries-long promise of God; not just a single day that would fade from memory.
Read any of the four epistles and you quickly recognize that Christ’s birth was only the beginning of His intervention and ministry to those around Him. It was an amazing historical event that was the launch of what He was going to do for all of human history! Read on through the letters of the apostles and we see how they rejoice in the living hope we have through Christ and tell us how to live a life focused on that hope.
Fast-forward to this year. What should we come away with after Christmas is done? The memories? The gifts? The sales? The ups-and-downs of being with family? Or should we instead come away renewed and filled up with the love God has for us because He sent His Son? How about if we dwell on the next calendar year as a unique number of days God has given us to make a difference in someone else’s life?
Emmanuel – God with us – is a daily reality that can potentially make everyday Christmas – for us, and for those we share that love with!
This “Light to the Gentiles” does not have batteries that will wear out. God’s love is not bought during a sale. The joy of Christmas is not a lawn ornament that is on display for a couple weeks then stored in a dusty attic. His promise of eternal life does not carry a warranty in case it breaks or fails. Instead, Christmas is a birthday celebration – it’s a reminder that God loves us every day. It’s a time to renew what’s really important in life then carry that out throughout the year. It’s a time to honor Jesus Christ, and make His perfect agenda of love YOUR agenda for the coming year!