The Unchanging Message that Changes Lives
Published 9:52 am Wednesday, January 5, 2022
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 our grandchildren: Mallory, Jaleah, Addyson, and Raegan. And as we do, there are times when it seems like I am revisiting the past. I was reminded of that once as we walked into the school auditorium to watch the local kids present a Christmas musical. As we entered, Santa Claus was sitting by the tree and tried to get Addyson to come visit with him. That was some years back and Addy was only a little tot at the time, and just like her mother when she was that age, she made sure that she kept a safe distance away as she used great effort to dodge the jolly old man.
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 as I am 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 excellent food and Papa’s popular peanut brittle. After the food is enjoyed by us all, we 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 at experiences changes over time, the one thing that has not changed in our Christmas observance is the reason we celebrate. It is true that toys continually change, usually becoming more sophisticated, and the foods that we serve are sometimes adjusted in an attempt to make them a bit healthier, there is an eternal truth that remains solid and unchanged: 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). While our reason for celebrating is unchanging, it is important to realize that Christ came to bring change—change deep within the hearts of humankind that no one else is capable of producing. The prophet Isaiah penned with great accuracy 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. So even though Christmas Day has come and gone for another year and in a few days we will enter into 2022, may we all make it our goal to allow the message of Christ to continually be rich and real in our lives, and may we make it personal by allowing Him to change us daily so that we become increasingly the men and women He wants us to be. Are you allowing Christ’s unchanging message to bring about change in your life?