We’re all painfully aware of the tremendous loss suffered in 2020 by the closure of numerous businesses since the start of the coronavirus disease. While schools, stores, restaurants, offices, and gyms have been temporarily or permanently closed, we’ve all gained firsthand experience, at some point, of having aspects of our normal routine completely shut down.
In addition, it has become necessary for an extensive number of events throughout our nation to be cancelled. Cultural events, festivals, performing arts, and sporting events . . . all cancelled. Honestly, did you ever imagine you’d turn on the television to observe cut-outs of cardboard people filling the seats of some of the largest stadiums in the country? Me. Neither.
Closer to home, our families have had to make decisions on whether to participate in certain activities. We’ve had to decide how, or even “if” to participate in or limit our gatherings for birthdays, special celebrations, church services, and holidays. Many have opted out of gathering for fireworks, fall festivals, costume parties and even Thanksgiving. Myriads of events fill our everyday lives . . . difficult determinations are still having to be made.
Even now, as you wrap the last of your Christmas gifts and add the finishing touches to the tree in your living room, twinges of pain may be stabbing your chest. Perhaps you’re reflecting on how few may be gathered around your holiday feast this year, or, how different it will be to participate in a candlelight service in front of your computer.
You may even consider it best to “cancel” Christmas.
Please know, as we struggle with our decision to maintain safety restrictions (or throw caution to the wind), I have some good news for you.
Christmas cannot be cancelled!
In fact, if you think Christmas can be cancelled, perhaps you may not know what Christmas really means. The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season always seems to include elements of twinkling lights, holiday music, and that jolly man with the red hat. The true meaning of Christmas, however, has little to do with loved ones gathered around a large table, or presents crowding for space under the Christmas tree. Quite the contrary.
Christmas has everything to do with the wonder and awe of rejoicing in the birth of a Savior.
A Savior, Jesus, came into the world as an infant through extraordinary circumstances to offer salvation, forgiveness, freedom, love.
John 3:16-17 says:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”
The true meaning of Christmas is the celebration of this incredible act of love.
Allow yourself to marinate in this truth today.
Christmas is a time for remembrance, forgiveness, service and gratitude. A time to draw closer to your family and your fellow man. A time to ponder God’s influence in your life, and to renew your determination (or decide for the first time) to follow Him.
You may find yourself among a smaller-than-usual gathering this Christmas, or perhaps even alone. You may be among an array of colorful, blinking lights and inflatable snowmen, or you may be among one solitary candle in the center of a table. Whatever your case may be, take heart that God’s unconditional and powerful love for you is year-round, not just amid the festivities of a holiday marked by a calendar.
Love is not cancelled, relationships are not cancelled, kindness is not cancelled, hope is not cancelled.
Christmas is most certainly not cancelled!