2007 Christmas Message

posted in: An Expression of Grace | 1

It was mid June this past summer when I first began working on this year’s Christmas message. I wasn’t sure WHY I was working on it already. I mean, so many things were also on my mind at the same time. I was preparing for the love of my life to arrive in the states (from South Africa) so we could get married in mid July. And certainly, this was the one thing that occupied my mind the most. But still, often my mind wondered back to this topic. Maybe it’s because I see Pearl as one of God’s greatest gifts to me and I was overflowing with the kind of joy we often associate with Christmas.

What’s funny about this story is that I was also writing music for a competition and struggling to find inspiration for the lyrics of the song. Or so I thought!!! He he he…….

Sometimes it takes me a while to “get it”. 🙂

There I was, in the middle of the summer, working on a song and struggling with the lyrics when on the very same days I was also working on this year’s Christmas message.

What kind of song was I writing?

He he he…..

It was a Christmas Carol contest I was entering. I didn’t want to just blabber in this Christmas Carol. I wanted it to carry some kind of message. So I worked on it and worked on it and nothing I wrote sounded right to me. The music was finished and it was just a matter of writing the lyrics.

Meanwhile, during a different part of each day, I was writing notes about this year’s Christmas message. I was thinking about how we really don’t know when Jesus was born – except that it probably was NOT in December. I was thinking about how commercial Christmas had become and how so many people are just using Christmas to line their pockets with money.

But the message wasn’t a negative one, like you’d expect. Basically, what I wanted to say in this year’s Christmas message was that it doesn’t matter to me what time of the year it is. Just because Christmas isn’t what we would like it to be doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate it. Christmas is the one time in the year when people all over the world are celebrating the joy we as Christians should feel each and every day.

The Negativity

People scoff at the over commercialization of Christmas and use this contempt as a reason to be bitter and angry. My Christmas message from a few years ago was more about that. The Christmas season is what YOU make of it. Don’t be so quick to blame others for your lack of joy. Don’t be so conditional in the way you celebrate our Savior’s birth. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you “Merry Christmas”. Take initiative! If that’s the kind of Christmas you want, then YOU be the one to give that kind of Christmas to others.

I sometimes wonder if this is some sort of generational thing. My generation grew up spoiled. As adults, we WRONGLY tend to think more about what we will get out of Christmas instead of what we can give. When Christmas isn’t what we want it to be, we sulk and blame everyone but ourselves.

We are adults now. It’s time to grow up, stop being children and start carrying the traditions of our forefathers forward.

Anyway, about the negativity….

Ask yourself which is worse; to enjoy the Christmas season in spite of it’s problems or to get bitter and angry about how bad Christmas is?

You can pile up an endless list of reasons why Christmas is all wrong today but none of that will force everyone else in the world to give YOU the Christmas you want. To complain about Christmas is all wrong when you should be living this way all year long anyway.

The Main Point

That, then, is the main point of the message. As Christians we celebrate Jesus’ birth every day of the year. It should mean very little to us (in terms of how much we “enjoy” the Christmas season) whether other people do it for the right reasons. Christmas is not about us. It’s not about having the greeter at Walmart make us feel good before we shop there. It’s not about whether people send us holiday cards or Christmas cards. It’s not about how people treat us at all. It’s about how we treat the people in our lives.

God gave us the most perfect gift of all. He sent His only Son to die on the cross so that He may wash away all our sins. But the Bible says that His grace is withheld from those who do not share that grace with others. God has given us forgiveness through the blood of His Son, Jesus, but if we do not then also forgive those people in our lives who have sinned against us, we cut ourselves off from receiving that forgiveness which God so freely gives.

When we look at this in the context of Christmas, it says that Christmas will never be what we want it to be until we begin sharing His gifts to us with the people in our lives. It begins with forgiveness.

Did you know that????

The so called “Christmas Spirit” is centered on forgiveness. It is the act of sharing God’s gift with others. That gift was forgiveness and the payment of our sins through a blood offering. So I guess this is the more elaborate version of the message – now that I’m really getting so deep into it. Let me say it as plainly as possible:

The joy you experience during the Christmas season
is contingent upon your ability to be forgiving.

Stop worrying about commercialism and insincerity and focus, instead, on being more forgiving in your own life. The more you forgive, the more joy God will bring into your life this Christmas season.

The Christmas Carol

I laughed out loud when I realized that the Christmas message I was working on was also appropriate for the Christmas carol I was writing. I recognized it immediately as a “Holy Spirit Thing”. I’m sure God got just as much of a kick out of it as well.

Click We Know Christmas to see the music for that Christmas carol.

I didn’t win the contest, but that wasn’t the point anyway. Not that I’d mind winning. It was just something that resonated with me and I enjoyed putting the effort into putting it together.

The music of the song is pretty conservative compared to most of my writing. I wrote this way intentionally because I had hopes that some day choirs might sing it. I didn’t want the harmonies to be too complex or anything like that.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I do wish all of you a very merry Christmas. Please stay focused on forgiveness this season and let the joy that comes from it fuel your abilities to forgive when the season passes.

God bless you all,

Eddie, Pearl and Alex

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