Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
Just a couple of days before Christmas, I had to go pick up some last-minute things at Walmart. Signs of Christmas that once filled every aisle and was visible on every endcap was now much harder to find. The green and red colors gave way to pink and red. Valentine’s Day candy and decorations now filled the shelves. Most of what was left on Christmas shelves were either picked over or starting their approach toward the clearance aisles.
Oh, how quickly the world moves on from Christmas…
On the day after Christmas, my wife and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. Just a couple houses down from us, we passed a home that was already done with Christmas. Outside lights and inflatables were taken down and put away. Christmas tree, already void of any decorations, were thrown out to the curb.
Oh, how quickly we turn the page from Christmas…
To be sure, many of the celebrations and most of the family gatherings have ended. Presents unwrapped and cookies eaten. Non-stop Christmas music radio stations have gone back to their normal playlists. Given some truth serum, perhaps you would admit that you just want to get Christmas boxed back up and out of the way. It’s clutter, and you’d just as soon put it behind you. Has the joy of Christmas quickly disappeared in your home? Time for us to gaze back into the manger scene. We still must keep Christ in Christmas—even if the rest of the world has quickly forged ahead. To do this, we don’t bake more cookies or buy more presents. Instead, we bask in the reality of the meaning of Christmas, the Incarnation. For us, Jesus is not a babe whose manger is getting old and dusty. He is a living person, whom we know, a reality who has become a living presence. For Christians, Christmas is not a festivity but a birthday—a beginning! Enriched by this celebratory time, we begin to ponder the coming year.
Do you remember the verse from the Gospel of John (1:14), often read on Christmas morning, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us?” The word “to dwell” meant “to pitch a tent.” Eugene Peterson put it graphically as he paraphrased, saying, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son… generous inside and out, true from start to finish.”
Did you catch his phrase, he “moved into the neighborhood”? In other words, Jesus relocated. “From heav’n above to earth I come to bear good news to ev’ry home; Glad tidings of great joy I bring, whereof I now will say and sing.” (LSB 358, stz. 1) God with us indeed! The real Jesus stepped down from His heavenly throne and moved into our neighborhood. He took up residence in the brokenness of the once perfect world He created. Therefore, life for us can never go back to what it was before He came. We don’t simply turn the page and move on. “Getting on with business” after Christmas must include living with same joy and excitement that filled our hearts on Christmas Eve. Our joy to the world was not a fleeting moment, but a reality that permeates far beyond December 25th.
No matter what type of greeting cards Hallmark is pushing or what colors fill the stores, Christmas never stops impacting how we live. As you “get on with business,” make sure dispensing His love and grace is your business. May we enter the New Year with eyes that see those who need Him most.
This week's devotion was inspired/adapted from an online article, which I can no longer find to reference the author.
Pastor Steve Vera