CHRISTMAS: A Celebration of Life – YOURS!
I hope the title of this blog got your attention! You might be wondering what in the world I am talking about since we all know Jesus is the reason for the season! Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth, but I would contend it is also a time to celebrate the impact His birth has had on the lives of those who believe in Him. In other words, Christmas is a time to celebrate the people we are becoming because of Jesus.
Whether we recognize it or not, all of us are changing in some way or another on a daily basis. I have especially felt the difference this past year. Many of you know I retired last January. I’m coming up on one year! To say this year has been a year of growth would be an understatement! If you are young, this may sound odd to you. I guess I used to think someday I would just “arrive” and feel more accomplished. I suppose this could be true for some, but I have grown more this past year than I have at any other time in my life. Because of Christ, I’m not the same person I was a year ago, and that is worth celebrating!
I’m not sure I’ve ever thought of Christmas as a time to celebrate His impact on my life. Yes, Jesus came to save us from our sins so that we could spend eternity with Him (John 3:16). This is undeniably our greatest gift to be treasured, but I am discovering there is so much more! Jesus came to be part of our story, part of our “becoming.” He came to change us. The Bible says the Lord, who is the Spirit, makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18). Without Jesus, none of us can truly become the person God made us to be. This is worth celebrating!
Because of Christmas, we can know God.
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? John 14:6
“I and the Father are one.” John 10:30
Because of Christmas, we can share in Christ’s holiness.
But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16
But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. Romans 6:22
Because of Christmas, we can love like He loves.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Luke 6:35
Because of Christmas, our lives can be full of joy and peace.
“I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance” [to the full, till it overflows]. John 10:10b
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Because of Christmas, all of us are in the process of becoming more like Jesus. Are you celebrating the changes God is making in your life? I am the type of personality that has a hard time recognizing successes. It’s not that I consider myself negative, but I’m always focused on what needs to be done instead of what has been accomplished. I can remember when I was an assistant superintendent of schools, my boss asked me to make a list of everything that I had accomplished in the past year. I felt a little uncomfortable with the process, but I was pretty amazed at everything our team had achieved. The sad thing is I also provided a list of next steps. It was really hard for me to stop and celebrate.
This Christmas, while celebrating the birth of Christ and all it represents, let’s stop and celebrate how God is changing us. Let’s praise God for how far we have come and be thankful that He continues to pursue us as we abide in Him. This isn’t bragging because we know transformation doesn’t happen in our own strength. Transformation happens through the work of the Holy Spirit as we surrender to and obey God’s Word (Romans 12:2, Galatians 2:20, 1 John 1:9). So, let’s celebrate the person we are becoming! I will get us started. This Christmas I am honoring the birth of my Savior, Jesus, and acknowledging the difference His birthday has made in my life this past year.
Because of Christmas…
I am calmer. I am thinking more about others. I am spending more time in Bible study and prayer.
I am less selfish with my time.
I am closer to the Lord.
By God’s grace, I am in the process of becoming a new me! Now it is your turn. This Christmas reflect on the new you, the person you are becoming. How has God changed you over the past year? Name it, and thank God for it! We are all in the process of becoming more like Jesus one day at a time.
Christmas is a time to celebrate life – Yours!