This has usually been “the most wonderful time of the year” for most of us. Christmas is just around the corner, which is often a very busy time. Meals to plan, cards and gifts to buy, wrap and deliver, decorations, parties, and the list goes on and on.
When we celebrated Thanksgiving, we remembered all that we were thankful for. It’s wonderful to have family. Aren’t we all so very different? Yet it is from these differences that we learn, are challenged and become better people. The same holds true for our brothers and sisters in the LORD. In them we find a different connection and a tremendous source of comfort, love and friendship. They are like iron sharpening iron, a helping hand when one is immediately needed, and someone to talk to about what bothers us. They afford us a chance to do the same for them. And most importantly of all, we have the LORD God. He loves to hear us call out to Him and He responds either in His Word or in our own hearts.
As Christmas approaches this year, a sadness pervades. We have faced a year unlike any other with problems and challenges that have been the hardest some of us have fought thus far.
In the Reader’s Digest story “Good Neighbors, Bad Christmas” a woman tells about the Christmas when her father suddenly died and she and her mother were left alone planning the funeral. She was surprised when her father’s neighbors, friends, and people he did business with and saw only occasionally – postal workers, the woman who cut his hair, his dentist and hygienists, the tax collector, and the bank teller – all came to pay their respects to someone well-liked. His daughter said, “It was a hard Christmas, but I learned that neighbors are not just the people who happen to live on the same street. Neighbors are those people who weave themselves into the fabric of your life and give you a sense of belonging.”
Christmas brings us a hope that even our struggles cannot dampen. We are facing challenges for sure but hope remains. Like the woman who had lost her father at Christmastime, we are not alone. We have each other. And we have the best Friend we could ever hope for. We have Jesus. After all, it’s His birthday we plan to celebrate. He is the One who left heaven, so He could make sure that we get there, if we choose. Do choose heaven. Embrace Him. Then expect to receive the best gift ever.
Although we still have a little over three weeks before Christmas finally arrives, enjoy it now. Be a “good neighbor” and reach out to those around you. Spread joy even in the midst of all the challenges we all face. And as you remember the holidays, let your heart be filled with joyful anticipation of Jesus’ coming. Just as surely as Christmas will arrive before we know it, so will He.