Paul tells the Romans not to judge each other because one man considers one day more special and another man considers them all the same, yet who can blame us for getting a little more excited about Christmas. As the song reminds us, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Even in our secular world you can’t escape completely that this day is in honor of Christ. This also offers us as Christians a chance to let others know why it is the most wonderful time. The life we live, we live to Christ, not ourselves. At Christmas the two sides of that are very apparent. On one side you have those who live only to themselves and Christmas can bring out the greedy little child in all of us. Media blares at us that this should be a time that we get what we want and make no apologies about it. Even Christians get caught up in this spirit of the season. The other side of Christmas is the focus on the Christ child and what his birth into our world has brought us. We hear words like love, joy, peace and hope in a different way than we do most of the year. They seem more present, more achievable, at this time. It’s as if we believe that love could conquer everything, that peace and joy could be felt around the world, and all of this gives us real hope for mankind.
The life we live in Christ includes these words every day. God’s love is present each day, 24 hours a day. He gives us a reason to feel joy and peace even during a pandemic. And he is still the greatest source of hope for this world. These are not only the gifts that God gives us, these are gifts that we were meant to share with the world. As the old commercial says, “I’d like to teach the world to sing, in pretty harmony . . . and share a Coke with them.” We should want to share God’s love, peace, joy and hope with the world. That means our neighbor (even the ones on Santa’s naughty list), our family and friends, but also with those who don’t seem like the type. What I mean are those of different backgrounds, different faiths, different Christmases than us. Wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas” but even more living Christ around them. Jesus didn’t spend a lot of time hating on people when he was here the first time, and the ones he did get frustrated with the most weren’t the godless heathens. The church today needs to live love, joy, peace and hope, not just in the four walls of our buildings, but on the city sidewalks, busy side walks dressed in holiday style.