I smile when I see Christmas decorations appear on the shelves in October. I absentmindedly hum “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” quietly and smile.
In December, I love the lights on the houses, the twinkling Christmas trees. I smile to the tired clerk; to the mother of the crying child; I quickly find a bit of change for the person who is desperately looking through her purse. I put money in every bucket and say, “Stay warm,” to the bell ringer---even though my budget will have to be cut slightly.
I love these things because they are indicators, signposts pointing to God.
God sent his son to live in a sometimes dangerous, poor, unhealthy world because he loves us! For our benefit! To teach us that love is the important thing. You would only send one precious son to rescue your other children if you loved them immensely! You and I are loved!
Imagine a world where everyone loves everyone, where we genuinely care about enemies, strangers, and people with whom we are uncomfortable because of their differentness. Imagine a world where we don't need insurance because we take care of each other, where elderly people feel included, and where all children are loved. A world, where we take the homeless person home with us, where we find care for the mentally ill. Where we ourselves are valued and loved. Where you say, “I don't believe in your religion, but I love you.” “I don't like what you are doing, but I love you.” “Your food, manners, clothes and what you value are different than mine, but you are loved by God.” “You need my coat.” “I can't speak your language, but come with me. My home is safe and warm.” “I will share.”
God sent Jesus to bring us Love. During Christmas we act more like the loving people that God wishes us to become. Christmas could come without bright decorations, gifts, and Christmas carols, but it would not come if God had not sent his son to us. The love we show to others reflects the great love God gives to us.
Our Father, Thank you for sending Jesus to live with us. Help us to love all your children. During this Christmas season help us to see those who are unhappy, ill or in need of food, warmth or safety. Show us how to comfort them and wrap them in your love both now and always. In Jesus name, Amen
Sit quietly this Christmas, feeling God’s peace. Let us be full of joy because God's people have much to be joyful for.
American Lutheran Church, Melvin, Iowa