Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but what does that mean to us?

We’ve survived the biggest sales day of the year. We’ve shared viral videos of the mayhem and brawls in stores over this year’s “Must Have” items. Homes are lighting up with festive decorations and food flows both ways through the door as we gather together to celebrate the season.

It’s both one of the best times of the year and one of the worst.

We hold the end of the year up as a time to gather together and give thanks, to focus on thoughts of peace on earth and goodwill towards mankind, but sometimes it seems we’ve forgotten what compassion looks like. And so much is lost as a result.

As I walk through the streets of my town, I’m more and more aware of just how much I’m surrounded by eyes filled with hurt, with a longing for recognition and a simple word of kindness. And I’m not just speaking of the homeless. It’s in our nature to crave a gesture from someone that affirms we have value, that we’re important no matter where our lives have taken us.

The need to know our worth seems especially great this time of year.

Christmas is a season to focus on the needs of others. It’s a time to reach outside of our comfort zone and into the lives of complete strangers. It’s a moment in time that allows us to experience deep joy and a sense of fulfillment that only comes when we freely give of ourselves to others — with no expectation of any reward in return. 

The holiday season offers us a moment to say, “Your life has a purpose and it is valuable.”

For me, that’s what the birth of Christ is all about: God coming to earth to affirm our value.

It doesn’t matter if he was born in winter, spring, summer, or fall. God, in need of nothing, ruler of all creation, willing chose to become one of us. He experienced cold, heat, love, joy, grief, sorrow, pain, rejection, and abandonment by those he counted most dear. He knew what it meant to be homeless and hungry. To be hated by some and selfishly used by others.

He experienced it all, not to satisfy his ego, but because he simply wanted to know and be known.

The Christmas Story isn’t just about a birth in a stable, a sky filled with singing angels, and the worship of shepherds and wisemen. Like all the best stories, it’s a story of sacrificial love — the most powerful “magic” ever known to humanity. It’s the only kind of love that can battle through the darkest, coldest night imaginable against the strongest, vilest villain anyone could think to conjure up and emerge victorious in the light of the morning sun.

It’s that type of love story I want to write. Not on paper, but in life. And not just in this season, but in every season beyond.

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