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For the first time, I have a child old enough to understand what is going on at Christmas time. The last three years, he was just too young to really put all the pieces together, but this year he has been full of questions and excitement, much to my delight. We have discussed all of the different parties we’ll attend, gifts we need to buy and cookies to bake. We have marked the advent calendar for important dates and the countdown has been on! He nervously told Santa want he wants – actually he panicked and repeated what his older cousin wants – and is eager to know when packages with his name are going to appear under the tree. But, as I write this, he is napping and when he wakes I’ll be dressing him head to toe in a shepherd costume for our church Christmas program. More important than anything else to me is that he understands, as best he can at barely age four, the purpose of Christmas.
I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to meet with a group of young women one hour every week to learn, grow and share. The last three weeks, we have been examining the Purpose of Christmas using Rick Warren’s study by the same name. It is a fantastic little book, study guide and DVD set. I have been reminded and refreshed as we have taken a few minutes to reflect. Here are the three purposes of Christmas as outlined in the book.
1) Celebration! Bring on the parties! When the angel appeared to the shepherds the night Jesus was born, the angel said “Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all people…” Christmas is a time to be merry. That is why I participate at full force, baking cookies, having guests, attending parties, dressing up, eating sweet treats, singing all kinds of Christmas songs, watching as many Hallmark movies and Christmas classics as possible, wrapping gifts, decorating and loving every minute! (sing it with me now) …cel…e…brate good times…come on! I would encourage those of you who are resisting the hype to go with it. Christmas is about the fact that God loves us and came to earth to prove it. If you have a relationship with God and have experienced the joy spiritual life brings day in and day out, you should have no problem celebrating!
2) Salvation! The angel continued…”for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord….” The second purpose of Christmas is salvation.
I know some readers found this blog because I frequently speak on the topics of personalities, leadership and entrepreneurship and you read for information on those topics. I thank you! However, before I was ever a speaker, author and personality trainer, I was a Christian or follower of Christ. And Christmas is the perfect time to talk about it. So, I would be a hypocrite and a liar to act like I think Christmas is just about spending money, gathering family and eating way too much. For me, it truly is a special time of year and I MUST share.
I have no idea why you put up a tree. I put up a tree and place a star on top because Christ was born. Christ was born because we, the human race, need a Savior. Someone to rescue us. From what? From ourselves. From our messed up ideas and actions that leave us hurt, broken, empty, frustrated, confused, bitter and hopeless. If you and I did not NEED a Savior, I hardly think God would have gone to all the trouble to come! In one of the DVD’s Rick Warren put it this way, the solution to your problems is not in a program or a place or a pill, but in a person. I have found that to be so true. Without Christ, I would be nothing. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. He gives my life purpose and I am so thankful to have a Savior.
3)Reconciliation! The end of the angel’s speech…”peace on earth, goodwill toward men.” We hear that line all the time. Did you know the Angel of the Lord is the one who said it to sheep herders who were out in a field the night Jesus was born? Shepherds. Seriously? Why not appear to the authorities? Alert the media! God’s ways are not like ours. Anyway, the third purpose of Christmas is peace or reconciliation. To quote from the Purpose of Christmas:
There will be no peace on earth until there is peace in nations.
There will be no peace in nations until there is peace in communities.
There will be no peace in communities until there is peace in families.
There will be no peace in families until there is peace in individuals.
There will be no peace in individuals until there is peace with God.
Are you at peace with God? That is the ultimate question. I’ll ask it again. Are YOU at PEACE with God?
If you are not at peace with your creator, then I’ll go out on a limb here and say you are at war with Him. You are fighting an internal battle and at the core of who you are, there is no peace. You know it, and I know it because I have been there.
When Jesus, the Prince of Peace, grew up, He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus was born so that we may have a way to be reconciled to God. Jesus was born to lay down is life for you. He took the punishment for the mess you have made. He paid for it on the cross so that you could have peace with God. This Christmas, the greatest gift you can receive is God’s grace. Believe, have faith in what Christ has done and in who He is and you will find peace.
And then, “goodwill toward men.” Reconcile to God first and then you can reconcile your differences with others. Who do you need to make peace with in your family or amongst your friends? Oh boy, that’s a tough one. No better time than Christmas.
Hmmm…now this sounds like a topic on relationships. More to come my friends….