by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014
Despite all the societal hype about what Christmas should look like, Christmas is not always easy. In fact, for many, Christmas is a time of year which by focus on the pictures of perfect families, beautiful decorations, gifts and abundantly set tables consistently is like salt rubbing in open wounds or that which rips off scabs and inflicts pain from loss, grief or injury anew.
For me, the only answer is to return to the true meaning of Christmas. The birth of Christ was not accompanied by great feasts or frenzied calendars of seemingly endless preparations or pressure to find and wrap the perfect gift. The miracle was uncomplicated and for the most part unseen. It was natural daily life of supernatural proportion and implication. A poor young woman accompanied her husband to Bethlehem in obedience to the call for a census and though they could find no place for lodging gave birth to her Son and laid Him in an animal feed trough for she had no cradle. The angels alerted the shepherds who had to choose to leave their work to go worship Him and the wise men also left their normal pre-occupations to seek out the newborn King they believed had come. Though supreme King over all things–natural and supernatural, physical and spiritual– and Creator of the universe, no one else knew He had come.
Christ was born and by His life, death and resurrection opened the door for reconciled relationship for each of us with Father God so we could receive our destiny in Him and through Him for eternity for which He created us! He promised blessings to those who followed Him even during this temporal life! However, He did not promise a life of ease or without problems.
The people of Israel were waiting for a Savior who would save them from earthly injustice. Instead, here came a King who would bring them through the trials of this fallen life, but not eliminate those trials. Here remains earth, not heaven. But Jesus made heaven possible. Jesus gave back our future and hope to those who would choose to follow. Jesus became Emmanuel—God with us—not just through eternity, but now as well so that when we struggle it is with Him at our side along with His promise to bring something good from it. Earthly governments are not overrun by Christ; individual hearts become filled to overflowing with the reality of God so that we inherit life with Him forever following this temporal existence and His love begins to flow through us to change the world within its existing ignorant structures.
Christmas is not about the tree or the gifts or the feasts, family or guests. Christmas is about the coming of God into our world to open the door home and lead us there Himself. This is what we sing about and it is in this rejoice. Everything else, while it can be nice, is like a piece of wrapping paper which is pretty today, but the day after Christmas seems to have turned gray and is ready to be thrown out. This is Christmas joy! True joy is not found in that which is passing away…true joy is in the hope of who we are to Him and what is yet to come!
In order to survive and even thrive at Christmas we need to focus on the Gift Himself who provides His hope, love, direction and care not just during December but throughout the year. Christmas is a time to remember, revere and focus on Him. It is time to give Him the glory He is due by announcing to the world, death is not the end and injustice will not be victorious because we serve an eternal supernatural supreme King. And when times have been hard and not what has been desired we are to cling exactly to these promises.
Indeed this year our family will gather. There will be gifts under a decorated Christmas tree. I am baking special cookies which it seems I only take the time to make at this time of year. But there are two separate dynamics at work here. There is the dynamic of choosing this time of year as one to gather and enjoy each other’s company and there is the dynamic of setting aside time to quietly remember the One who came and gives us all hope for the future we cannot provide for ourselves where there will finally justice, only goodness, joy and endless reunion without pain or sorrow. So MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone. Jesus came, lived, died, rose, ascended, sent His Spirit who is with us now through the good and bad which will be and we are all on our journey home. May you sense His presence with you through at all as He blesses you and keeps you, as He makes His face to shine upon you and offers you His peace.
Note: By the way this does not mean I am sad. For us it is a blessed, bliss-filled Christmas abounding with thanksgiving. But there are way too many others I know for whom Christmas is not easy and will not be. There needed to be something written which acknowledges this and points to the true essence of Christmas, away from what we have added to it, in order to help the time be blessed and perhaps in some small way more meaningful enjoyable again for all of us every year–no matter what. Merry Christmas all!
NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOMGod’s Wisdom is more precious than gold. This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com www.eaglesnestfoundation.org
It is the season we remember Christ’s birth. For new original worship music with which to go deeper in Christ through reflecting on Him this blessed season, visit CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro . CHRISTMAS WORSHIP and the newly released CHRISTMAS BELLS CALL TO WORSHIP are available now in CD and downloadable format.
Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist. She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way.
For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org Music can be purchased and audio clips heard at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.
Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss. For information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org