Christmas has suddenly appeared on
the horizon. I don’t know about you, but it seems like the time between
Thanksgiving and Christmas gets shorter every year. The hustle and bustle of
crowds and traffic seems more pronounced. Because the spirit of Christmas so
easily eludes me, I need to take the time to reflect on Christmas and what it
means to me. I hope you don’t mind me sharing a few things, only three, about
what Christmas means to me. And, these three aspects of Christmas can become
Christmas themes to practice all year round.
Christmas tells of honor.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, exemplifies honor in so many ways. When the angel
told her that she would have a baby who would “reign over the house of
Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end,” she accepted his word.
She obeyed the call of God. She even said, “May it be done to me according
to your word.” She trusted. She obeyed. She honored.
One of the greatest gifts we can
share with our family at Christmas is the gift of honor. We can honor
our spouse and our parents by accepting their influence in our lives, by learning
to submit to one another in love. We honor our children by modeling a
reputation of integrity, generosity, and love.
Christmas tells of grace. We
see grace in Joseph’s devotion to Mary. In the days of Jesus’ birth, a woman who
became pregnant out of wedlock was a scandal deserving death. But Joseph,
Mary’s fiancé, did not want to “disgrace Mary.” He did not want to
make thigs harder for her than it already was. So, he determined to quietly end
their engagement. However, an angel confirmed Mary’s baby was Jesus, who would
“save His people from their sins.”
With this word, Joseph took Mary as his wife. It didn’t matter what
other people might think or what they might say. He would devote himself to her
and to raising her child. His devotion reveals his grace.
Of course, we also see grace given
us from Jesus at Christmas. He “did not consider equality with God a thing
to be used to His own advantage, but rather made Himself nothing by taking the
very nature of a servant…” (Philippians 2:6-7, NIV). We see grace in
Jesus, who gave up all to give us all, who left home to bring us home.
You can share the gift of grace
with your family all year long. Accepting each one in spite of differences and
even in light of shortcomings. Giving generously of your time and availability
to each of your children and your spouse. Taking the time and energy to grow
emotionally connected to one another. Each of these actions is a grace given to
Christmas tells of celebration.
God arranged an angelic choir to sing an anthem in response to Jesus’
birth. In response, the shepherds ran to
the manger and celebrated the birth of their Messiah. Later in the story, wise
men “came from afar” to bring gifts in celebration of the
When we share the gifts of honor
and grace with our family, we find the gift of celebration comes
naturally. We celebrate our love by sharing gifts. We also celebrate our family
by serving one another, encouraging one another, and comforting one another all
We celebrate Christmas day once a
year. But the spirit of Christmas extends throughout the year when we share
honor, grace, and celebration with one another. Have a merry Christmas…and let
it last throughout the year in honor, grace, and celebration.