As I sit here pondering my Christmas to-do list, I find myself wondering where all of this began.  From Christmas cards to cookies and decorations to parties, all of the activity throughout the holiday season leaves little time to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.  While I enjoy every aspect of Christmas, including all of these fun aspects of the holiday season, it is my hope and prayer that we can all slow down a bit, amid the busyness of Christmas, and remember that special night so long ago.

On the first Christmas night, there were no last-minute holiday sales or revolving Christmas trees adorned with twinkling lights.  No one wrote Christmas cards to a hundred of their closest relatives or friends and no one wrapped gag gifts for the annual office Christmas party.  On that glorious night, a bright star lit up the heavens, announcing the birth of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  The first Christmas night, while quite humble compared to the fanfare we have today, was the moment that changed the world forever.  Although Jesus Christ was born in a hay-filled manger, he grew up to save the world.

This Christmas, I am striving to keep my eyes on Jesus Christ.  Even as I select special items to give to my family and friends, I want these items to remind them of my love for them and in turn, the love that Jesus has for all of us.  To me, the greatest joy in giving a gift is sharing my love with someone else.  I truly believe that it is more blessed to give than receive.  So did God.  But he didn’t give us another pair of socks, a gift card to our favorite restaurant, or a new smartphone.  He gave us his only Son, Jesus Christ, as the greatest gift ever given in the history of mankind.

Following in his Father’s footsteps, Jesus gave of himself by healing the sick, raising the dead, and performing many miracles.  Jesus helped others more than we will ever know.  God’s Word says, “Jesus also did many other things.  If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25 NLT).  Then when Jesus was 33 years old, he made the ultimate sacrifice by giving his life, so that we could have eternal life (see I John 3:16).

Jesus’ level of giving sort of makes that beautiful scarf you bought for your grandmother or the train set you picked out for your children pale in comparison doesn’t it?  That’s the beauty of gift giving though.  Jesus gave of himself, expecting nothing in return.  Even now, he doesn’t expect any form of repayment.  We have the freedom to either accept this priceless gift of grace or reject this precious gift that has been freely extended to every man, woman, boy, and girl.

This Christmas season, my prayer is that you will embrace the love of Jesus Christ.  As you write your Christmas cards to family and friends, decorate sugar cookies with your sons and daughters, and enjoy shopping for all of the special gift recipients on your list, remember why we celebrate this holiday in the first place.  Even amid the holiday hustle, Jesus Christ is the reason for it all.  Without the birth of Christ, Christmas would not be CHRISTmas.  Without Christ, the world would not be the same.  The birth of Jesus brought love, peace, and joy to the world.  On that first Christmas night so long ago, Hope was born.  Eternal hope found only through Jesus Christ.  That is how Christmas changed the world.

In Christ’s Love,