The Christmas season is upon us once again. I have to admit, I love Christmas. I enjoy the decorating and the baking. I take pleasure in shopping and finding just the right gift for someone I love. I watch dozens of movies depicting this magical time of year. Everyone has their own version of the perfect Christmas and we dare to dream of it during this season. I love the sense of hope, joy and celebration that seems to surround us as we live out the last days of another year. And I especially look forward to Christmas morning when we are all together exchanging gifts. The excitement that fills the air is like no other. All of the decorating, shopping and preparing is for this very moment, the moment when all that we had hoped to receive is sitting in front of us waiting to be opened.
“And the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'” (Luke 2:10:11 NASB)
Can you imagine the looks on the shepherds’ faces as they cast their tired eyes on an angel? Here they were minding their own business, and an angel appears before them proclaiming the coming of the Messiah. And before they can open their mouths to speak, a chorus breaks out in song, singing praises to God. One minute they are watching over sheep, the next they are listening to a heavenly concert. But most of all, they learn that the Savior has been born. The promise of God has been fulfilled. After mulling over all that they had seen the shepherds decide to go straight to Bethlehem. They want to see Jesus. They want to witness this miracle. Their whole lives they have heard that God would send a Savior and they went to see firsthand.
Just like the shepherds, we started our journey searching for the Savior. In most cases, we didn’t know what we were looking for or even that we needed to be saved. We were happy in our own lives simply living each day as it came. Our only purpose was to get through another day and deal with the situations that arose. But there came a time when we realized there was something more to this life. There was a purpose we were placed here and we began searching. We started digging for the truth. A desire grew in our hearts that wouldn’t be satisfied with the usual things anymore. We knew we were being called by something or Someone. And we couldn’t stop until we found Him.
Finally, that day came. The day when we understood that the Gift of Grace was standing before us. We realized that it was Jesus that was calling and all we needed to do was accept Him. When we did, our hearts were full. For the first time in our lives, we experienced true peace. We realized that God no longer was our distant Father but an ever present Lord. We now had a purpose. We no longer lived for ourselves. We have a reason for all that we go through in life. We have a Savior.
But what happens now? Does this gift get cast aside after a few weeks or months when we get bored? Do we put the Lord away with the decorations and the lights only to remember Him again next season? This weekend in church, our pastor challenged us not to let Jesus shine only at Christmas. We can celebrate His coming every day regardless of the season. This has been the theme of my life lately. God doesn’t want to be simply sprinkled into our lives. He doesn’t want to be approached only during times of desperation. He wants to be an active part of our lives. He wants our excitement in Him to be renewed every day. He wants us to praise Him with our lives shining in this dark and dirty world.
“And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told to them.” (Luke 2:20NASB)
I don’t believe for a minute that the shepherds ever forgot what they saw. Their lives were changed. They were different men. God wants the same for us. We can’t push the gift of our Savior aside. Instead we need to let the Light of the world shine every day of the year. We have the privilege of sharing what we have received with others. And the wonderful thing is that we don’t have to wait until Christmas to share the Gift.