I love the Christmas season: the smell of burning candles and pine boughs, Christmas cards that continue to connect me with old friends and music that fills all the tattered and worn places of the heart and spirit. I love the afterglow when family and friends have returned home after a special day of celebration.
It is Christmas Eve. Christmas cards that proclaim our desire for peace and hope are displayed on my mantle. Yet, as it has for centuries, the world remains in rebellion, revolts and war. Peace – Hope: are these things truly possible?
Each year, we are given the opportunity to pause and reflect on what Christmas means to us. For Christmas isn’t just about pretty bows, celestial music and lights that decorate trees and houses; it is about a gift given to us by God, a gift that involved sacrifice and love. Who can fathom such a God who loves us so much He would be willing to send His Son to die for us.
As we open our gifts, scattering wrapping paper and bows everywhere, will we recognize the gift God has given us among the packages and as we celebrate this special time? And what will we do with the gift God has given us? Will we put it on a shelf somewhere with other gifts we don’t know what to do with? Or will we unwrap its many layers throughout the coming year.
The peace and hope we long for doesn’t begin with negotiations to end wars on foreign fronts. It isn’t found in governments that write peace treaties. It can only be found in the gift God gave us, which when applied, has the ability to transform our hearts and lives. The choice is ours. Do we use the gift given to each of us or discard it with crumbled paper and smashed bows?