There's less than two weeks until Christmas, and I still have Christmas presents to buy and make. We haven't taken the kids on our annual trek to look at Christmas lights or to see the penguin house (a house in our city that has more penguin blow-ups than you would imagine existed). We haven't made a trip to see Santa yet. Every day this week is packed with activity from sports practices to school Christmas parties to church obligations.
I know many of you are in the same boat. This is the time of year when the Christmas season goes from joyful to stressful for so many. It seems like there's so much to be done and not enough time to do it. Despite all our best intentions, the stress of family interactions, Christmas traditions and our own expectations begin to weigh us down and suck the joy out of our celebration of Christ's birth.
So, today, take a moment to rejoice. Whether your house is clean, your baking done or your presents wrapped, take a few minutes to focus on the reason for joy. The angel told the shepherds "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." (Luke 2:10) That joy isn't dependent on your circumstances. It doesn't matter if your in-laws drive you crazy or if you haven't finished that last Christmas present. That joy doesn't depend on whether your tree is picture perfect or your Christmas cards have been mailed.
The only thing our joy depends on is Jesus. So, spend a moment or two rejoicing that Jesus, the King and Creator of the world, came to earth as a baby and died so that you and I would no longer be separated from God.
- Gather your kids and sing some Christmas carols -- ones that celebrate Christ's birth.
- Have a birthday party to celebrate Jesus' birth. Have some cake and ice cream.
- Spend some time reading the Christmas story aloud from the Bible as a family. Talk about why the angels declared Jesus' birth a cause for joy.
- Remind your children that joy is not dependent on circumstances -- it comes from knowing that Jesus' died for us, rose again and bridged the gap between us and God.
So, today, I say to you "Rejoice, and again I say rejoice!"