‘’It’s the most wonderful time of the year’’ as the song goes. Really? Trying to find the right gifts, preparing all that food, getting ready for people and extra travelling, attending all those Christmas parties and so on. It often feels more like the busiest time of the year rather than the most wonderful one.
As Christians, we often say that Christmas is not about gifts and food as the world thinks it is. You have many unbelievers and very lukewarm so-called Christians celebrating the holidays and decorating their houses. But for many, this season is all about having fun and celebrating, about gifts and food, about getting together as family and as friends. The classic response we give to that is to say ‘’No, it’s really all about Christ and His birth. Christ is the reason for the season!’’
Actually, yes, but … it’s also about gifts and food! What? How can a pastor say such a thing? Or for that matter a true Christian? It’s not because I like gifts and food that I say that (and I have to admit that I actually like them). I say this because Christmas is about the heavenly Gift of Christ coming down to mother Mary and becoming flesh to be born as our Saviour. What better Gift is there than the Christ Child who comes to forgive our sin and conquer our death so that we can now live with God forever? And He does grant us many gifts through His Word and sacraments by the work of the Holy Spirit in us. It’s about food too! For Christ is the heavenly manna, the heavenly bread and food that nourishes our souls. So, we exchange gifts at Christmas to remind ourselves of all His gifts to us. We give gifts to others because everything that you will do to the least who believes in Christ you are doing to Christ (Matthew 25:45). We celebrate with special meals to underline the joy we have that God is visiting us. He has become one of us in the Christ Child for us to partake of His Divine Life. That’s certainly worth many celebrations! And as human beings we often do that with festive meals.
The most important festive meal, of course, is the Lord’s Supper where we leave all gloom and sadness behind and are filled with the joy that we have a gracious and friendly God in Jesus. There as the family of God and as friends in Christ we become one with our loving God and in our proclamation that Christ died and rose for us to be forgiven and have life. We are one in receiving the bread and wine that have become Christ’s true body and blood. Then Christ takes residence in our hearts and lives that become like a humble manger to welcome Him. Christ-mas(s) means the Communion Service of the day of Christ’s birth where He comes down to live in you through the consecrated bread and wine of Communion.
So, I warmly wish you a merry and faith-filled Christmas season.
~ Pastor Jason
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