Pastoral Reflection 12.20.15

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I love Christmas music. Each year, sometime around Thanksgiving, I start listening and will keep it up until after New Year’s Day. One old catchy Christmas carol begins with the lyrics,

It's the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you be of good cheer
It's the most wonderful time of the year

I think this describes the excitement and sentiment of most people around this time of the year. Christmas is a time of seeing family, enjoying good food, getting some down time, and giving/receiving presents. Christians should enjoy all of this stuff as part of God’s goodness to us, but, for Christians, Christmas should be celebrated as much, much more.

First, in the midst of everything else, it is essential for Christians to keep their eye on the most important thing about Christmas… the celebration that God came to earth in the newborn babe in the manger. God invaded this world and we will never be the same. The hope and the joy Christians have should be driven and shaped by this truth as we celebrate “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Second, while we rejoice in Christ’s coming, Christians also need to recognize that this is not the most wonderful time of the year for some. Some of our neighbors, co-workers, and friends are suffering under the brokenness of our world. From loneliness, depression, and family strife to sickness, loss, and financial struggles, Christmas is not a precious, joy-filled occasion for everyone. We should seek to love and serve those around us who may be feeling the weight of the holiday season.

Finally, Christians should recognize Christmas is also a season when most people who have no connection to Jesus or his church, are genuinely open to be invited to attend a party or gathering. One recent survey by LifeWay Research shows among Americans who do not attend church at Christmastime, 57% said they would be likely to attend if someone they know personally invited them. Don’t miss the opportunity to invite someone to our upcoming Christmas Eve service at 5pm. It will be a simple service full of Christmas music, readings, prayer, and a short meditation on the Christmas story from Luke 2.

I hope this Christmas is a sweet time of remembering Christ, connecting with family and friends, serving our neighbors, and reaching out to those who need to hear the gospel message.

Pastor Bland