I especially appreciate that we celebrate the birth of our Savior at the end of the year. No matter the struggle we may have endured during the fist eleven months, we can end the final month with the reminder that we are never alone, for Emmanuel, God is with us!
Christmas is my favorite time of year. This is the time of year when families come together, Christmas music fills the airwaves with glad tidings, homes are decorated with lights, kitchens are warm with baking, and nostalgia of Christmas past lends to the hope of Christmas present.
Every Christmas Eve I turn the lights out, save the tree lights, and I breathe in the peacefulness of the evening. The living room is illuminated with the warm glow of tree lights, twinkling and reflecting off the ornaments I have collected over the years; each one unique and carries a memory.
My favorite are the ones that were handmade by my children. The untrained eye may not recognize the preciousness of each ornament, but this mothers eye sees the love each ornament represents. The smudges of paint and excess glue are reminders of pure love, joy, and the glowing face of my children. I hold each one in my hand and I remember. It is this hodgepodge, mismatched, and sometimes misshaped, tree trimmings that I cherish the most.
In many ways we are like the hodgepodge of handcrafted ornaments. Each one of us crafted by our Fathers hand, fearfully and wonderfully made in His very image. With great care and detail He created us and He cherishes us. And like the worn ornaments on my tree, we have somewhere, along the way, lost our luster; our shine. Yet, that doesn’t make us any less precious in the eyes of the Father.
My children are grown now, but I still hang their ornaments on the tree. Some of them are really showing their age and should be retired, but I can’t bring myself to pack them away. I suppose, by holding on to them, I keep the memories alive a little while longer. And maybe, just maybe, it keeps a part of my children home with me. Of course, I understand not everyone shares my appreciation for my old handmade ornaments, so I gently place them deep into the tree, just enough so I can still see them.
I wonder how many of us sometimes feel like the old ornaments? Once shiny and new, full of sparkle, vying for the front of the tree to reflect the lights, but now shrinking back into the shadows of what used to be.
Life can do that, ya know. Ups and downs and ups and downs and ups and downs, until it feels like you are going down for the count. You hold things deep inside; every broken promise, cruel word, rejection, abuse, heartbreak, loss. The shell you wrap yourself in becomes hard and you determine to be untouchable. That is called self protection.
Or maybe you have done or said some things you are ashamed of. It started off as a little thing, a slip up here, a slide there, and then before you know it you can hardly recognize yourself anymore. Of course this is compounded by the lies you have to tell to cover your tracks. Then you start hearing the voice in your head that tells you really blew it this time. Even though you want to make it right, the more you try the deeper the hole you dig. You give up because you can’t do it yourself, you can’t make right the wrongs, you can’t clean the filth you feel, you can;t shake off the guilt and the shame, no matter how hard you try. And you are right, you can’t.
But there is good news!
The Bible tells us that long before He formed us in our mothers womb, God knew us! It’s true! Click here to read it for yourself. In the hands of our Maker, Creator, Father, we were created to shine! Our omniscient God knew we would lose our luster and drift from Him. So, He, Himself, made a way for us. This is why we celebrate Christmas!
Behold, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel—which, when translated, means, God with us. Matthew 1:23
Do you understand what this means? It means God came down for us! Our God, our Heavenly Father, came down to us in the flesh and dwelt among us for 33 years as a man. He was born of a virgin and died on a cross. You see, we celebrate Christmas to celebrate the birth of our Savior, but He came to die for us.
More Good News!
The grave could not hold Him, death was defeated!
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 5But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 15:55-57
Beloved, our minds can not comprehend the love God has for us. For God so loved us that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
I may not be able to make my ornaments look new, as much as I would like to, but even so… I will continue to display them on my tree with love.
But YOU, Beloved, you are a new creation! In the Fathers hands you are made to sparkle! Let your light shine, because your light is HIM! And know that when He looks upon you, He smiles, His heartbeat is you and NOTHING can change that!
This Christmas let your gift be you, all of you. Take time to thank Him for the greatest gift of all, His Son, Jesus!
Be Free & Stay Free