What does Christmas do to you? Christmas sends me into joyful celebration mode from the moment turkey leftovers are finished until the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. I love Christmas.
Christmas does amazing things for us because Christ is everything to us. Choices we make during the holiday season (all seasons) determine what Christmas really does to us. When we allow busyness and burdens to extend us beyond our time and financial limits, Christmas madness steals the meaning of the season. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to truly enjoy the holidays and stay focused on the reason for the season? A merry little Christmas is possible when we put God first. Then, everything else falls into place peacefully.
The miracle of Christmas softens hearts and heightens spiritual endeavors. Jesus being born in a lowly manger magnifies how God’s love came from Heaven to Earth. God’s choice to make the events of baby Jesus’ birth simple and splendid reminds us of His amazing grace for all mankind. Jesus being born to die made it possible for His children to enjoy a personal relationship with our heavenly Father. What a magnificent gift God blessed us with. The miracles of Christmas continue. Why not slow down and enjoy this Christmas season, keeping it simple, splendid, and spiritual? The choice is ours.
I made a Mary choice this week when my Martha spirit screamed, “don’t go to Mr. Rudy Lockamy’s tonight; stay late at Tim’s Gift and get that Christmas tree up, for time is short and you have much to do.”
Sitting down at my desk at Tim’s Gift, I talked with Nikki, a student helper at The Learning Station. Her dad was running late, giving us a chance to communicate without children demanding our attention. God showed how my ‘go-go’ spirit made me miss opportunities to simply sit with people sent my way, to stop and share the moment. Memories of yesterdays when Tim and I talked in this very room flooded my heart. The ‘things’ taking up our time took away many Mary moments we could have enjoyed. We wanted to do everything possible to give our best to our children, jobs, church work, yards, house, and the never ending list of things important in our lives. We were just like many of you, living happy but hectic lives. God says to slow down, simplify, and share the sweet secret of true happiness…connection to the Lord and loved ones.
One look at my daily planner, (a Christmas gift last year from a friend who wrote words of encouragement throughout the pages; a personal gift of love that gave strength and sunshine every day of the year) and I knew I needed to stay home and work on things due the next day. Mr. Bobby Matthis entered and sat at the table waiting for me to tie up loose ends. I could have stayed there all night and never finished, but I looked at the table, thinking of those who gathered there throughout the day to pray, Karry Godwin being one of them, and my heart said, ‘go’! So, I listened. Mr. Bobby and I headed to my hometown, Clement, for a night of fellowship, fun, food, fabulous music, singing, and the sweet spirit of our Lord flowing freely in the hearts of friends gathered at Mr. Rudy’s home.
My heart swelled with joy as the six local, professional musicians (two preachers, two who have ministries, one choir director, and one lady who has led singing groups for decades, including The Musical Four in the sixties and The Precious Jewels today; her ministry of music is amazing) ushered in the sweet spirit of Jesus and the reason for this season with songs and tunes that tendered hearts of folks gathered to share love and laughter. Toe tapping, heart warming tunes filled the air, as did the spirit of the Lord. People stood to share testimonies of God’s love and miracles in their lives. I was in hog heaven. As Karry sang Silent Night, my tears flowed and heart stirred to stand and share the miracle of love.
‘Not tonight, Lord’, I thought. My heart pounded faster, a sure sign He is speaking. Too often, I have grieved the Spirit and not shared. Silent Night ended; I knew being silent is good sometimes but standing up and speaking out in the right spirit, right time, and right place is pleasing to God and strengthens one’s faith. So, I stood, as did many people that night, and shared the joy of knowing Jesus and receiving his miracles of healing and love.
Jesus still works miracles today. People told of miracles in their lives. I told about Tim receiving God’s best healing, heaven. My heart ached for the families in our communities whose little boys went to heaven this week, for those who are watching loved ones suffer, for the two year old little girl, from Salemburg, fighting cancer in her eyes. I told of the miracle of healing in my life when cancer came and God sent healing through His touch, Prayer Connection,and devoted doctors. Jesus still works miracles; I am living proof.
I challenged everyone there to let Christmas do good things in their lives, to share the love of the Lord, and have the faith as did Mary and Joseph. I asked if we would be like the family and friends who doubted Mary: gossiping, judging, even gathering to cast stones to kill her. So many miracles took place making Christmas what God had planned. God saw Joseph’s weakness and sent an angel in a dream. Joseph listened; he believed in what made no sense in man’s eyes and rules. Joseph stood up and spoke out when the masses condemned the woman he loved, who was pregnant with the Christ Child and pondered things in her heart. He took charge and carried the love of his life away from the danger that threatened to destroy the miracle of Christmas. They shared the miracle of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem with angels, shepherds, and wise men led to the stable by the star in the East.
God sees our weaknesses and sends signs and wonders to guide us through dark times to the light that transcends and touches eternity. Let us slow down and search our hearts this Christmas, seeking to serve the Lord and cherish loved ones faithfully and tenderly. Let us honor Christ and make our celebrations evangelistic and everlasting.
I sat down, getting a big squeeze from my seventh grade teacher, Mrs. Mary Anna. Our hearts were in tune, soaring with joy for the miracle of love sent by God. When the last song was sung and prayers were said, Mr. Rudy stood to thank people for coming and told us to pick up a bundle of fresh pulled turnips when we left. People came to me sharing their own miracles of healing, of love, of amazing things God has done in their lives. People hugged and talked of what a powerful service of song and worship we witnessed. My heart smiled to see the reason for the season alive and well in the lives of these people I loved, even though I knew few by name. Our hearts were joined in one accord. This is what Christmas does to us when we stop all the ‘go go’…spend some ‘slow slow’ time with our Lord and loved ones, believe Jesus is the way, trust and obey, and enjoy the sweet spirit of the season.
As Mr. Bobby drove back to Clinton on the country roads I called home, I thought of the poem I read early that morning in my devotion, titled “What Christmas Does to Me.” I knew God had plans for my day, for this story, and for me to stop my go going to listen and let all seasons be Christmas. My miracles of healing and love are my greatest gifts; they keep on giving every day I am alive and able to tell the good news. I will forever praise and adore my Lord for loving and looking out for me.
May this story help you slow down to truly enjoy Christmas; may this poem touch your heart as it did mine.
“Bring the candles, light the tree,
There’s something Christmas does to me,
It weaves a charm, it casts a spell,
It sheds a warmth I cannot tell.
It melts the years with magic art,
It makes me young again at heart;
I long to give where pity pleads,
I think of friends and human needs,
And thrill with joy as from afar
I hear a song and see a star.
Thank God! – Whatever else may be –
For all that Christmas does to me.”
It was late when I knelt beside my bed with visions of happy people celebrating Christmas dancing in my head, praises to God filling my heart, and a prayer of thanksgiving on my lips, ” Lord, thank you for Christmas, for the simple, spectacular story of Jesus and His amazing love and grace, for the sweet spirit that is home in our hearts, for miracles, and for all that Christmas does to us. I love you with all my heart.’