While there were certainly events worth at least a passing mention, such as my youngest boys' fourteenth and twelfth birthdays respectively, I'll jump to the end and tell you we enjoyed a very merry Christmas, as I hope you did, full of the blessings of family and food and gifts galore. It's true, Christmas loses some of its excited anticipation with the boys getting older, but still it was good. I struggled sometimes with the unexpected and sudden bout of melancholy here and there, plus I've been sick, but upon reflection there was (is) such an embarrassingly abundant outpouring of grace that I am humbled. And grateful. The Lord is good and He has blessed us beyond measure. Family, friends, health, freedom, laughter, love--all are ours and all are grace. Despite my many complaints and stresses in regard to the season, I am thankful for the opportunities that Christmas affords to spend time with family, to give gifts to those I love, to have the boys home from school for Christmas break, to celebrate the holiday over a plateful of good food, to sing songs of the nativity and to remember the baby born in Bethlehem.
Earlier this month I read the following from Tim Keller, as quoted in Nancy Guthrie's compilation Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas...
Christmas is telling you that you could never get to heaven on your own. God had to come to you.
Surely there are many reasons offered for the season. Christmas is for giving, we say. It's about love and peace, goodwill and generosity. Perhaps some would stake the truest meaning of Christmas in its economic impact or determine the season is best celebrated by vilifying businesses who would dare wish us happy holidays rather than a merry Christmas.
While it's right and good to give gifts at Christmas, that's not where the true meaning of Christmas lies. No, as that Keller quote indicates, the reason for the season is that we are so wicked and so depraved and so willfully rebellious in our sin that we could never save ourselves. Indeed we would not want to. God had to come get us. He came, as a baby, fully God yet fully man, lived a perfect life, died a horrible, cruel death, and yet rose again to life--all to redeem us, to save us, to grant us new life in Him. This is Christmas: Jesus, the Word becoming flesh, dwelling among us, so that we might see His glory, the glory of the one and only.
May our Christmases be marked not only by shopping, giving, eating and such, but may we respond to Christ, the indescribable Gift, in repentance and faith, trusting Him to save us as He promised!
"...and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." Matt. 1:21