The unchanging message of Christmas

Published 6:04 pm Friday, December 12, 2014

It seems like such a short time ago that our two children were waiting for the opportunity to go see Santa Claus when he came to town.

Now they have grown up and have children of their own, which provides Gale and me with the joy of sharing Christmas with Mallory, Jaleah and Addyson.

And as we do, there are times when it seems like I am revisiting my past.  As we walked into the school auditorium to watch the local kids put on an outstanding Christmas musical last week, Santa Claus was sitting by the tree and tried to get Addyson to come visit with him.  Just like her mother when she was that age, she made sure that she kept a safe distance away as she made great effort to dodge the jolly old man.

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When I was a young lad, our entire family would gather at my grandparents’ home for a huge Christmas meal and the sharing of gifts.  As time went on, the family got too big and our grandparents’ health became too bad for that tradition to continue.

After we all married and left home, our big Christmas celebration took place at my parents’ home, but even that has changed since it has now become nearly impossible for us all to be there at one time.

I am beginning to feel like the family patriarch and filled with pride when my children and grandchildren gather in our home for our Christmas celebration.

We build new memories every year as we gather to devour Nana’s pecan pie and Papa’s peanut brittle, and then quickly transform that big pile of gifts under the tree into a huge load of fun.

What I have found to be true is that even though the way that we celebrate and the place that we celebrate experience changes over time, the one thing that has not changed in our Christmas observance is the reason we celebrate.  Even though toys continually change, usually becoming more sophisticated, and the foods that we serve might be adjusted in an attempt to make them healthier, there is an eternal truth that remains solid:  Christmas is about Christ.  What a glorious event His birth was as the angel of the Lord proclaimed to the shepherds, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11, New International Version).  Even though our reason for celebrating is unchanging, it is important to realize that Christ came to bring change.

The prophet Isaiah penned these words about Christ centuries before His birth in Bethlehem:  “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2).

The unchanging message of Christmas is that Christ was born to make the only way for our lives to be eternally changed.

He was born to die for our sins and rise to life again so those who believe and follow Him can be taken from the deadness and darkness of sin to the light and life of His forgiveness.

Of all the gifts given by men, none comes close to comparing to this great eternal gift offered to us by Jesus Christ.