13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 15When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”—Luke 2:13-15
Although it pains me, I have to admit to a time when I was pretty negative about Christmas. Yep, I have been, in the past, quite a Scrooge—bah humbug and all the rest of it. There are some stories about silly things that I’ve done. I never really got into the Christmas thing. It just seemed to me like Christmas always involved spending money you didn’t have, to buy presents people didn’t need, and then take them over to their house even though you really didn’t—well, maybe you liked them, some of them—but it just seemed like the whole season was kind of a hassle.
And then the worst part came as I tried to do ministry during December. I wanted to get people to focus on the Lord and the meaning of Christmas, but there was always this big dude with that red suit on, kind of blocking everybody’s view of the manger. That gets on my nerves. So I thought I would try to get people to be committed to Christ in the middle of all the distractions! You might have a similar story in December, where you are overfed, overtired, and overbooked. Maybe you felt like saying, “Man! Leave me alone! I’m just celebrating Christmas!”
Maybe you can relate, but know what? I was so wrong about all of that. Wrong! I finally began to see in the last few years just what an amazing and wonderful season Christmas is. Aren’t you glad a pastor can learn and change? I mean who wants to go to a church with the same old guy up there every week? I’m growing and changing too, right along with you.
So let me be the first to wish you Merry Christmas. It’s early in December and we’ve got our Christmas decorations out. We are trusting that God’s going to do some cool things in us during all of the events leading up to celebrating Christ’s first arrival. I trust you will join me in relishing God’s amazing love for us! Let’s join the shepherds on their way to Bethlehem!
Prayer - Heavenly Father, You planned every detail for the arrival of Your only Son among us. How could we not enjoy and give ourselves to remembering and rejoicing in our Savior who came as a baby to live a model life and then to die a unique death in our place so that we might receive the greatest possible gift of Christmas—eternal life. Thank You, Father. In Jesus’ wonderful name, Amen.