As we’ve gotten older, time has seemed to speed up; the days, the devices, the people. And now we are on our final stretch of the year, and things shift to sport. Well, perhaps it’s just that I’m older now, but before this year I have never felt such an intense fixation on wealth or lack thereof; specifically on money.
This year I’ve watched all the people I’m surrounded by stress about it, and I’ve heard everyone in SoFlo talk about it. This initially seems valid, since our superficial desires are aimed at giving to those we care about, but I’m so saddened with the realization that us as the selfish beings we are, have managed to turn a celebration of a Savior and our salvation into an excuse to ultimately serve ourselves and our self-image.

So I’d like to take us back 2000+ years ago when the greatest gift we couldn’t buy came to earth and saved us all from eternal torment.

Luke 2:1-15

1 “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.

2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.

5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,

7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.

11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’
These words should be humbling. They’re filled with humility, necessity, and trust. The first Christmas was not a five-star vacation, the first present wasn’t something we could buy, and the mindset was not in vain.
The first Christmas was almost degrading for Mary and Joseph, not getting a room but having to sleep in the stables. The gift given was the birth of a savior, eternal life, eternal love, teaching, and strictly things given to and from the heart, soul, and love. The mindset of first Christmas is the humility you receive when you realize you are incapable of changing the circumstances, and the only one who can, and could this whole time is God, and you must rely on HIM.
This is a time for the highest celebration, but we’ve veered off course. We no longer celebrate in the name of Jesus, we have conformed to the world and gone along with the idea of celebrating ourselves and family instead of our savior.
The other day at church I was having a conversation with one of the Bible Study leaders and she said “If we were really living for Christ, and we really made Christmas about Jesus in our hearts, we wouldn’t be giving presents at home with our families. We would be serving. It’d be a day of service projects, and bring love and joy to our communities” and I couldn’t have agreed more. But we need to go a step further instead of just agreeing, I believe we need to act on these convictions. This year, let’s go our and serve our community, neighbors, friends through the gospel, and showing them the love of Christ through actions, not words.

1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
I’d like to now stop and pray as a community of believers:

Dear Lord,
Please make this time of year about you. Help us be humbled, help our hearts be changed. Give us the instincts of change, and the desire to do so. Thank you for coming to earth, and being born so you could save our fallen and sinner souls. We lift up YOUR name above all others, our savior, creator, and loving father. Please heal the hearts of the broken hearted, and spread your peace among this world.
In Jesus name,
Amen.

Here are some links to organizations you can get a part of this December and after, to serve your communities and this world.

Feed My Starving Children

Operation Christmas Child

International Orthodox Christian Charities

MERRY CHRISTMAS,

Margaret and the entire CWL crew!