Today is Christmas Eve, a day when many are getting excited about gathering with family and exchanging gifts. Perhaps you’re spending the day doing some last minute shopping, or relaxing and sipping hot cocoa with friends, or maybe even volunteering your time to those in need this holiday season. My Christmas Eve will be different this year, since my father has surgery scheduled for today. I will admit I was disappointed to find out I’d be sitting around a hospital waiting room on Christmas Eve this year. It’s not how one would typically spend a holiday, but then again, my family’s never been typical. Not if you’re comparing it to the families we see in Christmas movies. Unless you’re watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, of course.
Yes, I used to be like the character Clark Griswald and dream up big holiday Christmas ideas that never seemed to work out. Christmas is filled with so many expectations that are difficult for anyone to live up to. We watch Christmas movies year after year and wonder why our families aren’t the same as the characters on the screen. When will we realize that movies are make-believe and not reality? Let’s face it – families are not perfect and never will be. Movies and the media force us into thinking that Christmas is all about time with family and exchanging gifts, but the truth is, Christmas is not about family. It’s not even about gifts. It’s all about Jesus, and the promise we have in him.
You see, Christmas starts in your heart. You don’t have to be around family, believe in Santa, have costly gifts, or have a nicely decorated home. Christmas starts when you recognize the wonderful gift given to us all many years ago. The beautiful gift of Jesus Christ, our savior. Christmas is my favorite holiday because of the hope we have in Jesus Christ. God promised to send us a redeemer, and he was given to us in the form of a babe in a manger. Nothing warms my heart more than the thought that God himself chose to take on human form and come to Earth to die for my sins. Once you accept Jesus into your heart, you have a new family in Him. With that comes the promise of eternal life and a wonderful future in heaven. Now, that’s a reason to celebrate!
There’s no greater gift than the gift of Jesus Christ in our lives. Why not spend some time today reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas? Remember, Christmas is in your heart no matter where you are today. Whether you’re spending your day in a hospital waiting room, a nursing home, a group home, or overseas away from family, Jesus Christ is with you always…and that is the true reason to celebrate Christmas. That is why I celebrate Christmas. How about you?“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me. He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him. His mighty arm has done tremendous things! He has scattered the proud and haughty ones. He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands. He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful. For he made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.” Luke 1:46-55 NLT