Joy to the World

The festivities of the holiday season are always filled with fun, joy and excitement as we gather with friends and family to celebrate God’s gift of salvation to us through the incarnation of the Son of God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. In the growing secularism of our culture, the importance of sharing the story of Jesus’ birth cannot be overstated.
When preparing for the TV show, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Charles Schulz stated, “If it’s to be a Christmas special, I want to certainly deal with the true meaning of Christmas.”* He was so right! He was determined to have the story told through the reciting of the Scripture passage because people needed to be reminded what Christmas is all about. The producer, Bill Melendez, stated that Schulz said, “Bill, if we don’t do it, who else can? We are the only ones who can do it.”* We in the church can heed the advice of Mr. Schulz. If we do not share the true meaning of Christmas, who will?
The gifts we receive and give, the decorating of the tree, the music and the abundance of food we enjoy point us to the greatest gift ever given. But without the story of Jesus’ birth, all the rest becomes an excuse to relish in extravagance. We embrace this wonderful celebration because it points us to the amazing grace of God which is simply Christ!
This time of year provides us with the opportunity to reflect on God’s gift of Salvation which gives us a new start. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Whether we think of our new life in Christ, a new year that is ahead, or some new endeavor, Christ gives us the chance to begin again, to have a new start. Perhaps there is something you have looked forward to seeing accomplished but have not gotten around to it. I do not personally make New Year’s resolutions, but I do like to take this time to reflect and refocus on the issues that are dear to my heart. What do you want the Lord to help you accomplish this next year? May I encourage you to complete the sentence, “With God’s help, this is my year to…” Make this a matter of prayer and begin to establish the action steps needed to see this fulfilled. 2017 can be the greatest year of your life, if you establish Christ as the center and order your world around His priorities.
*Quotes from: A Charlie Brown Christmas-The making of a Tradition, by Lee Mendelson with reminiscences by Bill Melendez.

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