December 26, 2013


I love celebrating Christmas. When I was younger, like many of us, I loved receiving gifts. As I grew, I started to enjoy giving gifts more than receiving them. When I came into the church, I started to celebrate Christmas as the time when we celebrate the birth of the Lord. It's this celebration of the coming of the Lord that I most enjoy about Christmas today.

As I write, on what we English call Boxing Day, I am enjoying a cup of tea and a warm feeling of happiness that has nothing to do with being in an easy chair under a warm blanket. This happiness comes from knowing that the Lord loved us so much, he miraculously poured himself into a body and allowed himself to be born under humble circumstances that are hard to fully comprehend. Approximately two thousand years ago, the Lord deemed that the time was right for the next phase of his plan to restore fellowship between him and us. It was time for our redeemer and our savior to come to this earth and bring hope and peace and love to a sin ravaged world.

The arrival of the king of kings in this world was worthy of celebration. A host of angels went forth and proclaimed the birth of Jesus to shepherds. This was a big deal in the eyes of the Lord. If it was worthy of a host of angels back then, it should be worthy of our time and attention now. A couple of years ago, Christmas fell on a Sunday and we held a simple service that day to celebrate. The service felt wonderful and it was well received by the congregation members who were there. This year Christmas was on a Wednesday, so we held service again (in the morning instead of the evening) and there was a wonderful presence of the Spirit of God.

My wife informs me that Christmas Day services are unusual in our organization. While this seems to be true, I am now fully convinced that they are important and it is my intention to be hosting one from now on, for as long as I continue to pastor. The world, when it isn't attacking the spiritual side of Christmas, is keen to make money from the gift-giving traditions that come with Christmas. And this has caused the lead up to Christmas to become a mad rush of preparing and spending, to the extent that most people are just tired of the whole thing by the time Christmas Day actually arrives.

A few years ago, I found myself feeling "Christmas'd out" by December 25th and decided to do something about it. I refuse to think about Christmas before December, except for picking the church Christmas event dates. I insist that the church events are closer to Christmas, whereas we had been having them earlier in December to avoid conflicting with people's other events. I no longer feel guilty if the church events are close to Christmas, because Christmas is a church Holy Day. Without the birth of Christ and the decision of the church to celebrate it on the 25th of December, there would be no festivities for people to attend.

I am pleased to report that this plan seems to be working. I arrived at Christmas Day looking forward to the morning service. I enjoyed the service and am still basking in the glow of the wonderful presence of the Lord that we were blessed with.

Tags: Personal