The holidays are upon us. Wait. What? Wasn’t it just Easter? I know – right? What a year. I believe it’s because of this unprecedented year that individuals have started unpacking and putting up their Christmas decorations at home earlier than normal. Anything we can do to momentarily ease our mind and refocus on something positive. The music, movies, decorations, lights, trees and fragrances of Christmas. It’s refreshing. Uplifting. Truly.
I was fine, even joyful and enjoying the start of the holiday season until that song played, tapping into my melancholy mind-set. The lyrics pushed play on my nostalgic side and I began to reminisce and reflect on Chrstmas’ past, of family members no longer present, of childhood memories – of how I desired to return to those moments and return to what once was. I was mentally transported to years gone by and found my joy beginning to slowly dissipate. The emotions and mental images flooding my mind.
This instance reminded me of Dr. Seuss’ Christmas story ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’. It was almost as if Grinch himself had quietly snuck into my mind and began to steal my Christmas joy. Isn’t that how it goes. One moment it’s the most wonderful time of the year, the next moment it’s the most difficult – even the most dreaded time of the year. For some, the holiday season is filled with happiness and joy, while for others it conjures up feelings of being overwhelmed, stressed out, depressed, anxious, envious or even just lonely. And a couple lines from Dr. Seuss’ book began to replay in my mind, “The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season. His heart was too small is the most likely reason. He tried to steal Christmas and learned he could not.”
Isn’t that like the Devil? Oh yeah! Absolutely. From the moment the Christ-child was born he sat out to steal, kill and destroy Christmas – Christmas fleshed out in Jesus Christ. It still occurs today. It’s all around. Why? Because the Christ-child changes the entire scene both now and into eternity. The message of the Christ-child has the potential, if embraced and redeemed, to turn our anxiety into assurance; our envy into contentment; our loneliness into companionship; our despair into hope and our gloom into joy. It’s no wonder that throughout Jesus’ life up to and including his crucifixion that the Devil sought out to steal, kill and destroy the message of Christmas. The Christ-child changes things. His message has transformative power and potential. Who God is – who Christ is and in turn, once we personally embrace and redeem Christ’s loving message of Christmas we find ourselves ‘hidden with Christ in God.” We are a child of God. Loved. Cared for. Died for. Resurrected for. Found worthy. Chosen. Forgiven, not forsaken. We are a child of God. Now that is powerfully transformative now, every moment and into eternity itself. That is the message of Christmas. So when the Devil attempts to steal our Christmas spirit – say back, “I am a child of God!” Proudly repeat it! Shout it if necessary. Lean into who God is – who Christ is and who we are IN HIM as His precious child.
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Luke 2:10-11 NIV
I invite you to join us on campus or online this Christmas season every Sunday at 9:00 AM & 10:30 AM as we unpack a series ‘Stealing Christmas: Taking Back the Redeeming Joy of Christ’s birth.’ See you then friends.
Pastor Doug // Lead Pastor