My mind and heart has been heavy since learning about the recent shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, and there is much I could discuss, but that would take up more space than I have.
One question that has been asked, and is especially pertinent to me as a pastor, is, “What is God doing about all of this?” This is a very appropriate question and one that I also find myself asking in the wake of such tragedies.
Yes, even pastors ask themselves the tough questions, and it was in my preparation for our Christmas services that I once again found my answer.
The right question is, “What has God done about this?” Christmas is about the coming and birth of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. In my preparation, I find myself focusing only on this sole point, the birth, which is important, but is only the beginning of what the true gift of Christmas is about.
The deep meaning of Christmas is about the gift of the forgiveness of sins that we as mankind do every day. That forgiveness came to us in Jesus Christ and what He would eventually do for us on that Good Friday, three days before Easter.
What God did in response to our daily wrongful deeds was to say to us, I love you, and I will give you my Son to take your place, so that you may be forgiven. That is the meaning of Christmas.
Published in Delta Optimist December 28 2012
I write this article in the wake of another “Black Friday,” and while watching the videos and news about the mayhem, it made me realize how complex we have made the simple message of Christmas.
It would seem the modern “Spirit of Christmas,” namely that of peace and giving, has become one of greed and pepper spray. Christmas is becoming more and more complex and hazardous every year.
It has become that of the perfect dinner, the perfect presents (bigger and more expensive) and the perfect “deal” for those perfect presents. Everything has to be perfect, because if it is not, then we have obviously failed as a parent, grandparent, relative or friend.
Thankfully, many of us keep the receipts!
Christmas is actually very simple. When we put aside the dinners, the presents and everything that seems to be wrapped up in the season away, it comes down to one simple, yet perfect gift. The gift was the Christ who was born in a stable, grew up and died upon a cross to take away the sins of the world so we may live in a paradise called heaven forever.
Christmas still revolves around peace and giving, but not from us, from God.
So as we race for the best deals, and cook the best turkey or ham, may we never forget how simple that first Christmas gift really is. Merry Christmas.
Pastor Steve Naylor
Published in Delta Optimist Dec 2 2011
[Image courtesy of MSNBC]