The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. -Luke 2:20
This is why we are still celebrating Christ's birth, even if it isn't the same time of year as His actual birth and even though it has become a commercial monster. Just like the shepherds who glorified and praised God after seeing and hearing all that they did, so do we as Christians. Our birthday is the day that everyone we know gets to celebrate the fact that God made us, and Christmas is the day that we get to celebrate that God made Jesus. So, celebrate like crazy!
For those of you who don't know me personally or who have been out of the loop for whatever reason, I've had a rough go of things health wise for the last six months or so, and on December 16th, I had a hysterectomy and have been slowly recovering since. The timing was practical because I had exceeded my healthcare deductible, but it has been a real drain on me this Christmas season. The first part of the month was spent crazily getting everything ready for Christmas and from the 16th on, I've been in the hospital, then in bed, and I'm finally making my way down to the couch. For us, this has meant no Christmas baking, no Christmas cards, no going to look at Christmas lights and no going to holiday events. I wasn't even able to go to church this past Sunday.
While in some ways it has put a kink in our holiday celebration, it has also been a huge blessing. While I was in the hospital there were wonderful people who showed us love and what it means to be in a church family. I've had a lot of time to think and pray and contemplate the meaning of the season. Instead of going out to different Christmas events, we've spent the holiday having lots of movie nights watching Christmas movies together. I can still listen to Christmas music even if I can't sing it (my tongue is numb from the anesthesia and breathing tube during surgery). And no matter what, I still have Jesus. No matter what happens, I'll always have Jesus.
I hope all of my readers have had a meaningful and enjoyable advent time and are having a wonderfully merry Christmas. I write (and preach) because Jesus tells me to, but it is such a rewarding experience to have an audience and to know that God is using me to speak truth and encouragement into the lives of others. Thank you for all the kind words you've given me when one of these devotions touched you in a special way. My faith and your encouragement pair together to motivate me in a huge way. Thank you!
So like the shepherds, take some time to glorify the newborn king! Especially when tensions rise, people get tired and grumpy or if you reach your saturation point with people, parties and get togethers, praise God. When you remember that Jesus is everything, the problems we experience crumble and we are left with the peace that only He can give us. Peace and joy to you all. Merry Christmas!