Don't Miss Christmas
(by Mary Southerland)
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son" -John 3:16
The Christmas rush is on! I know many of you are still looking for the perfect gift, wrapping presents, baking your famous sugar cookies, packing the car for a long trip and wrestling with overly excited children. Ho! Ho! Ho!Right where you are...STOP!
Take a deep breath and travel back with me to a time when there was no hope...no celebration. I can’t imagine a world without Jesus and yet, many times I live my life as if He doesn’t even exist. A trial comes and I try to handle it on my own. Loneliness floods my heart and instead of reaching out to Him, I withdraw into the darkness.Then, He interrupts my life and fills each black corner with Light. His love flows over the pain like a soothing balm and once again, I experience the manger.
Once again, He steps into the smelly, unlikely and very ordinary existence that is mine to change everything – everything! He could have come to us in many ways but He chose to interrupt the very ordinary with the most extraordinary! He could have chosen to be born in a palace. After all, He was a King. Yet His life on earth began in a manger - a dirty, smelly barn. The simplicity of His birth is one of His most precious gifts to me and one of my most profound life lessons.I often wish that I had been there that holy night when Jesus was born but then He reminds me that I have my own manger, my own holy moment when God became a reality to me, and I worship Him!
Every year I am reminded of the very heart of Christmas - Emanuel, God with us. God wants to be involved in the simple, ordinary happenings of daily life: where we go - what we do - the smile we give the harried stranger - the patience we wear in the crowd of impatient shoppers - the love that prompts the secret gift - the heart that constantly celebrates His birth through every sparkling light, every beautifully wrapped gift, each special meal, every card, phone call and visit.Join me in this quest - to celebrate Him and His birth in everything I do. Have a birthday party for Jesus! Adopt a family in need! Reach out to the lonely! Look for Him in the crowd! Emanuel, God with us! WOW!Father, today I celebrate the reality of Your presence in my life. I celebrate Your birth, Your life, Your death and Your resurrection. And as I celebrate, Lord, help me to be “God with skin on” to those in need around me. Open my eyes and let me see them as You see them! I love You! Happy Birthday!