A Christmas Prayer
“Now Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was betrothed to him, and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:2-7 (NASB)
It was not the Christmas anyone might have expected or wanted. My husband Robin and I had the opportunity to plan his upcoming surgery for the end of the year, which obviously included our Christmas celebration and time away from work.
What we didn’t know was his heart surgery would result in an unexpected extended ICU stay. He arrived home a few days ago and our house is now a place of rest and recovery for him rather than the center of bustle it usually is this time of year.
And yet, as we sat down together to enjoy a Christmas Eve Dinner lovingly prepared for us by a dear friend, it occurred to me that this Christmas we have blessings more abundant and more fulfilling than we could ever deserve. Robin is back home, on the road to healing. We have food to eat and beds to sleep in and a supportive community. By the world’s standards, we are truly blessed in every way.
Two thousand years ago, another family experienced a different Christmas Eve. Exhausted from a long, tiresome journey, Joseph and his pregnant wife Mary arrived in Bethlehem, already overrun with visitors crowded into every available room. Weary, hungry, with no place to stay, they found the corner of a feeding stall to lie down where Mary would ultimately have her firstborn son.
It was not the night they expected either, yet God had a different plan for them. And they were blessed beyond measure. Mary gave birth to the only begotten Son of God, the Savior of the world.
This week, we are sharing a simple message.
Christmas is not about the things we have, the gifts we receive, how beautifully decorated our homes might be, the holiday gatherings we attend, or any of the other measures we typically use to celebrate the season. It’s not even about a baby born in a manger in a faraway land twenty centuries ago.
Instead, Christmas is about one thing: the deity of Jesus Christ, God becoming human, and the salvation He brought to mankind. Christmas is about this single, unparalleled act of love where God provided a way—the only Way—for us to spend eternity with Him. No matter who we are, no matter where we find ourselves, no matter the circumstances, God loves His own so much, He makes this promise freely to us all.
We wish you and your family the most joyous and faith-filled Christmas Season this year, remembering that ultimately, Christmas is about the sacrificial love God showed for us and our expression of that love to one another. This is our prayer:
Merciful Father in Heaven, We thank you for the blessings you share with us daily. We thank you for surrounding us with reminders that this season is about You and the single loveYou shared through the gift ofYour son Jesus Christ.Lord, help us set our eyes and our hearts solely on You,trusting in the truth of Your Word and the healing it brings to every part of our lives.Release the joy in us that pride,wrong priorities, or world events has crushed.Tear down the strongholds that have held us captive far too long. Show us again the beauty of that holy night so many centuries ago when You entered this world to guide our path.Be with us in all we do, reminding us You are the one true meaning of the Christmas Spirit.In Christ’s name, Amen
May God always guide your path.