With another Christmas behind us, let’s reflect on the big picture.
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
I truly hope your Christmas was filled with joy, warm memories, and especially Christ Himself. Even with the reminders to keep Christ in Christmas, it’s way too easy to get caught up in everything else, especially when the house is full of family members eager to enjoy the company of one another. It’s easy to forget that without Christmas, there would be no savior, and we would all still be dead in our sins. Without Christmas, there would be no real and lasting love, peace, or joy. Without Christmas, there would be no Christians and none of the blessings to mankind that resulted from the influences Christianity had on our culture—blessings like hospitals, relief agencies, orphanages, the YMCA and WYCA, the Salvation Army, the right to life movement, women’s rights, the dignity of every human being, etc.
It’s also worth remembering that the first Christmas was anything but “the most wonderful time of the year.” The Son of God became human flesh in an animal stall. No nice warm bed. No hot chocolate or eggnog. No friendly gathering around the fireplace. The aromas were not those of scented candles. Most of us wouldn’t settle for a Motel 6, let alone a pile of hay beside a bunch of stinky animals. To add a bit more insult to the story, the Savior of the world was being hunted by an insanely jealous madman who was determined to eliminate all possible rivals to his throne. The danger was so great that Jesus’ parents had to flee with Him to Egypt until it was safe to return home.
AS I SEE IT
Now that the celebrations are over, it’s worth reflecting on that first Christmas and comparing it to the Christmas we have just celebrated. For most of us, the contrast is stark. In fact, nearly everything about Jesus’ entire life bears little resemblance to ours. Of course, there were great cultural differences, but aside from these, His focus was never on Himself. He never gave a thought to His own comfort, yet His needs were always met. He owned very little and His life was anything but easy, yet He was filled with joy. His focus was always on others. His own glory would come later. His earthly mission was clear. Everything He did on earth led to His ultimate earthly destination—the cross.
The love and joy we experience, especially at Christmas, came at great cost to Christ. His own glory, and ours as well, would result from willingly enduring pain and agony along the way. His focus was on His ultimate destination. He saw beyond the pain and suffering of the moment to the glory beyond. He saw beyond His personal desires to the desires of His Father. He saw beyond the evil of the day to the coming Kingdom when all the wrongs would be made right and when things would finally be as we presently long for them to be.
As we reflect on our latest Christmas, may we not only look back, but look forward to what awaits those of us who have placed our faith and trust in Christ Jesus. In the coming year, may we follow our Savior’s example of selfless devotion to others and to Him Who has called us to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus.
Cross image by Waiting for the Word
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