The Champion of Hope
Do you ever feel like Charlie Brown bemused to what Christmas is all about, or like Hermey the Elf, wondering where in the world is my place amidst the holiday bedlam? After all, it’s easy to feel lost at Christmas time. We tread through our annual routines, hoping flickering lights, peppermint mochas and the dream of a white Christmas will offer a doubleshot of whatever we’re in desperate need for. Not to mention the marathons of personal enterprise we engage, trading sorrows for stopgaps, all for the sake of getting through the holidays.
Truth is: Some people need decked halls and falling snow for it to feel like Christmas at all. But although white pines, laced tinsel and December flakes are truly timely sights to behold, there’s merit in wondering who or what is driving the heart of Christmas. For instance: are we aiming to medicate ourselves through tradition and productivity or are we allowing the light of Christmas to impact our giving and benevolence? For almost anyone will do anything to feel warm and cozy where it counts, especially at Christmas time. But though it may be cold outside, the good news of Christmas reminds us we don’t have to be. Even though the season, over time, has seemingly been reduced to “melancholy-prevention”, we can find both place and identity in the heart of what the season stands for.
Granted there’s much to contend with during the peak of December pandemonium, whether it’s superficial agendas or the materialized expressions of hollow gaiety. Yet, as we endure the dichotomy of secular endeavors and Spirit-filled stimulation, we can delight in the fact the magnificence of Christmas is infinitely more than the allure of seasonal charisma. And perhaps this why the spirit of Christmas is so unparalleled, as it establishes the hope we can convert whatever we encounter into an excuse to count our blessings. Yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to partake in eggnog consumption, endless rounds of gift-wrapping and caroling through the snow; however, one can’t fully know the true meaning of Christmas without acknowledging the fact Christ made hope possible, championing the incarnation with thanksgiving, ultimately setting the tone for humanity’s redemption.
So as the sun prepares its final descent on 2013, what's increasing your joy and how do think another round of Christmas can stir you to shake up something more than a customized pursuit of happiness? Because I’ll be quite honest, festive euphoria doesn’t come close to satisfying, especially since real joy is given, not concocted out of ritual and the proverbial ‘Christmas spirit’ manual. The best way to commemorate Christ’s birth is to remember Christmas is more than the most wonderful day of the year; it's an invitation to give an offering of worship to the one who lights up the fireworks in us. It's an opportunity to tell the world: "Yes, I have seen great light! And I want to share it everywhere I go." And it’s a time to give to the needy, pray for the grieving and make peace with God, even when you don’t think you can.
‘Cause in the end there’s nobody else.
So in closing, I bid you all a very Merry Christmas. May you relish in the fullness of the season with all it has to offer and encounter divine appointments to inspire others through giving (see video below), all the while remembering the true reason we celebrate: the perfection of humanity through Jesus Christ.
As the wise Kermit the Frog once said, “’Tis the season to be jolly and joyous. With a burst of pleasure, we feel it arrive. ‘Tis the season when the saints can employ us to spread news about peace and keep love alive.”
For to Us a Child Is Born
But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
~ Isaiah 9:1-7 (ESV)
Lyrical inspiration: "Christmas Lights" by Coldplay; "How You Live" by Point of Grace
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