Good food, m&m cookies, Christmas eve service, family together, pool, beach, rich presents. Many think that the perfect combination: the perfect food, the best decorations, and the entire family together will bring peace. Maybe if we could just get our friends exactly the perfect gift and we could travel to the best destination then everyone would have fun and it would be like "old times".
But something always seems to be missing doesn't it? The entertainment isn't lively enough, we're missing someone in the family, the clothes under the tree are the wrong size, and the peppermint ice cream is too strong.
We always fall short of that perfect picture don't we? Or even we get that snapshot image to facebook post or mail to our family and friends.. it's a short lived pasted smile and when we fall asleep we wonder "Is this it?"
Is this the Christmas we have all been waiting for?
Or is there more?
I spent last Christmas in an orphanage in Peru. Honestly it was a dream come true for me because I had ALWAYS wanted to live in an orphanage. Somehow my friends helped me make it possible to give all 89 children in the orphanage Christmas presents. So on Christmas day my friend Megan and I woke up, ate a nasty Peruvian breakfast and then put on our Santa hats and hand delivered gifts! The orphans faces were indescribably beautiful and thankful! It was so fun to be a giver and so wonderful to spread joy with them. It was a Christmas like no other complete with a three hour late night dance party on Christmas Eve with all the kids in the orphanage.
I didn't look cute and wasn't dressed up. Didn't get alot of good food (for lunch my missionary friends did sneak us a little real food though). I was sweaty and stinky. But we told the children the Christmas story and I think that Christmas was the most "Jesus-like", heart-warming Christmas, full of peace than I have ever experienced. It was special- so special- I can never forget.
What is Christmas really about? And how can we find this true Christmas peace and joy?
"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
I find the most that Christmas is about sacrifice. John 3:16 says God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten son. For whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Christmas is about Jesus' free gift to us of His son. Christmas peace is about being thankful for the free gift of salvation and about sacrificing our lives to show others about Jesus.
Thus to have a good Christmas? It's about the heart. It's about being thankful, loving others, loving God. It's about relationships.
What can we give to God this Christmas? What will you give to God this Christmas?