by Rev. Brett Opalinski, Christ UMC Ft. Lauderdale, FL
First, read Luke 2:21-38
The day of celebration is finally here! Everyone’s celebration will be different. If you have children in your home, I suspect your living room is (or is about to be) a covered in a mess of paper and cardboard. Perhaps you are going to gather with family or friends later in the day. Maybe this is a quiet morning for you and the stillness leads you to a place of reflection. For some, this is a hard day and celebration doesn't come easy. Yet, Christmas Day is here!
What are we really celebrating today? Is it lots of food ... toys and gifts? These are not bad things just not what the day is about. It is not even about family and friends (as important as these are). Today is about God coming to us in Jesus. It is bigger than our individual wants and desires. It is about a love and hope that is being born into the world and its impact will last so much longer than the novelty of a new gift.
When God’s love came to us in Jesus, we received a great gift. We saw just how much God loved people and the world. He didn’t come in anger or judgment. God came in love! This is what we celebrate today. We also remember how God now asks us to be visible representations of that love in our lives. So today we celebrate. Because of Christmas, people who are hungry will be fed, those who are lonely will find friends, those who are depressed will find companions to walk with them, those who are sick will know care, those who have made mistakes will find a new start and those who are fearful will find joy. We will learn to walk in a great light and God will be among us and we will be God’s people!
Today, do something kind for someone else ... it may be a small thing. It may be to a member of your family or a stranger you see on the street. Do something loving! May it be a present you give that declares God’s love has been born into our world and the world will be different ... and so will we.
God of Christmas, God of Love, be born in us today, so that others will know through our words and actions just how much you love them! Amen.
Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus! Our journey through the days of Advent is over. We’ve arrived at our special celebration of the birth of Jesus. Like any other birthday celebration, there is lots going on today. Yet, in all the gifting, eating and visiting, let us not forget the real reason for our rejoicing!
Take some time today to remember and give thanks for the birth of our blessed savior, Jesus Christ. As you wind down from the day, take some time to sit and read a child’s version of the Christmas story. Afterward, take a look back at your family’s Advent journey and talk about the blessings and surprises you experienced. What turned out to be your favorite day? What activity would you like to repeat again soon? Did your heart feel prepared as you celebrate Christmas?