The Christmas season is upon us. Stores may have had their giant Santa inflatables and plastic Rudolph up for months but there is something about this time, these first few days after Thanksgiving, which usher in the coming season. Lights are beginning to outline homes, trees are placed and ornaments hung with care, and Christmas music is now able to be played without any controversy or the ire of your coworkers.
If you’re anything like me, this time of year brings forth rejoicing and expectation but it can also have harried and wearied moments. Amidst the decorating and festivities, there can be a sense of too much and not enough. Too many parties to attend and not enough time. Too many presents to buy and not enough money. Too many miles on an open road to spend not enough time with those who matter the most to us. But there is rest for the weary; there is hope for the tired and disheveled. And that begins with our perspective this season.
Yes we know that this is Christmas and yes we know it’s about the birth of Christ but we’ll still max out our credit cards and run up our electric bills and outpace the Joneses in a frantic endeavor to celebrate the holidays. But what if we viewed this season with a different approach, with an eternal one? Too often, this season can become consumed with a “here and now” approach and we lose sight of the eternal perspective. “The weight of eternity,” Pastor Eli said this Sunday, “outweighs every temporal thing.” There is nothing that can compare to eternity in the hearts and minds of the believer. Adding onto his quote, the weight of eternity informs every temporal thing.
What that means is that the way in which I celebrate Christmas is in direct response to how I view eternity. The way in which I decorate, the way in which I invite my neighbors into my home, the way in which I give gifts to my child, the way in which I do everything comes down to a reflection of what I believe about eternity, about the hope of Jesus Christ. And because of that, it means that my view of the holidays doesn’t have to be frantic or chaotic or downtrodden; the holidays just became a bit more cheerful. Because Christ is born, because God is with us, my holidays have purpose and meaning, my Christmas has definition that goes beyond mere gift-giving. Because eternity has been set in my heart, I can approach this season, the hanging of lights, the star on the tree, the wreath on my door, the numerous social engagements, the holiday shopping, everything with a sense of joy and peace and remembrance. This season is a great reminder of the truth of the gospel, of the depths of love that God has for us, of the light coming into the darkness. This is a season of joy, celebration, and belief. We believe in the truth of Jesus Christ. So what does that mean? Pastor Eli again hitting us with some truth, “we believe in the hope of Jesus and so now, our life is devoted to speaking that hope to others.”
This Christmas season, with eternity in mind informing your Christmas plans and schedules and activities, who will you speak this hope to?