Monday, November 22, 2010

Merry Christmas, at Last

It is time for my annual Christmas message. Sometimes it seems that everything that can be said about Christmas has already been said. I feel like I have said all that I know about Christmas. Solomon said that there is nothing new under the sun, and yet every year we work to make Christmas new, fresh, and interesting. This year I refuse. I am not looking for anything new. There will be no original Christmas thoughts coming from my mouth. I will not lose sleep over how to phrase my holiday greetings. I am going to be simple, and traditional.

On Sundays I am going to focus on the message of the angels who appeared to the shepherds. (It’s hard to get more traditional than that.) There will be four messages, and they all come from what the shepherds heard a couple thousand years ago.

  • Good News. The basic message of Christmas is good news. The gospel of Jesus Christ, the truth that God became a man and dwelt among us, that is good news. That Jesus continues to live and fellowship among his followers, that he still seeks those who are lost and do not yet have a relationship with him is good news. It’s not a new message, but Christmas is all about Good News!
  • Great Joy. Suicide rates go up at the holidays. People are more depressed and lonely. Men and women (and young people) focus on what life is not and lose hope. But, Christmas for the believer is about great joy. We are not alone for God is with us. We do not need to live in depression because the King of kings has borne our griefs. When my burdens are lifted and when I live in the hope of Christ, that is Great Joy!
  • Peace on Earth. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. To many for Christians to talk about peace seems to be a contradiction. After all, much of the violence in the history of the world has come from Christ’s followers. However, we live for peace. We can have peace. We follow peace. Jesus is the only way that we can truly know Peace on Earth!
  • Goodwill to Men. Not everyone is nice. I do not like everyone I meet. But I do know that there is no one who is inherently better or worse than me. We are all the same in God’s eyes. Jesus came to earth to level the playing field. We are to love one another, even as Christ has loved us. He offers us a chance at equality and understanding with and for one another.