Over the last few days many of us will have been busy dismantling Christmas trees, taking down cards, putting the decorations and lights back in their boxes and generally doing what some call ‘putting Christmas away’ for another year. For the next ten months or so, most people will not give Christmas another thought, until once again the festive season approaches.
Sadly, in spite of all the celebrations, carols and candles, few will even remember the words they sang so lustily two weeks before; ‘Born that man no more may die, born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth’. Nevertheless, the fact is that the truth and significance of the Bethlehem birth has sounded down through the ages, and will continue to do so, however deep in the attic the nativity scene is stored.
Although the tinsel has disappeared, the chocolates eaten and the toys have lost their initial appeal, the essence of the Christmas story, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) remains the same, as sure and certain as ever, and is worthy of celebrating at all times, not just once a year.
When we have recognised the baby in the manager for who He is, the Son of God, who as a man died on a cross so that we could receive all the blessings of a new life in Him, then surely our lives should be lived for him in a way of continual celebration. This doesn’t mean we should be on a continual high, that would be unreal. We live in a real world and we are affected by what happens to us and around us, but in Jesus we have all we need to face the challenges that we encounter in life.
We perhaps need to learn from the apostle Paul who could say ‘For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength’ (Philippians 4:11-13). Elsewhere he writes ‘Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus’ (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
As we continue into 2017 let’s take every opportunity we can to celebrate the fact that Jesus came into the world, was born, died for us at Calvary, rose from the dead, and will come again. Hallelujah!
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for coming from heaven to die on the cross for me. Help me to celebrate You and all You have done for me as often as I can, and to encourage others to do so as well. Amen.