It’s Christmas Day 2021. You woke up early amped up with excitement. Maybe someone made you breakfast in bed or you woke up, brewed a cup of coffee and sat outback in your favorite patio chair soaking in His presence this morning while counting your blessings and looking forward to a great day of celebration.
Christmas is a happy day when many people gather with precious family members they haven’t seen in awhile to eat delicious food and exchange love-filled gifts. For others, the entire holiday season is super difficult because of the loss of a loved one or because they are missing someone close to them.
Today is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus!
They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.Luke 2:16-20 (New Living Translation)
English writer and social critic Charles Dickens first published his novella “A Christmas Carol” in 1843. It’s original title was “A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.” First introduced to me by my Opa Bruno when I was a young boy, it remains one of my favorite Christmastime stories to this day. Opa Bruno was a voracious reader and Charles Dickens was one of his favorites. I still have a German copy of “Oliver Twist” that my Opa gave me when I was in my teens.
“A Christmas Carol” tells the story of a miserly man named Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge recently lost his longtime business partner, Jacob Marley. The ghost Marley visits old Ebenezer one night during the Christmas season. Shaken by visits from the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, Scrooge undergoes a massive heart transformation. After that night when the Spirits visit him, Ebenezer is a kinder and more gentle soul than he was before his cathartic dream experience.
Dickens wrote the story during a period when Great Britain was in turmoil and undergoing considerable change. The traditions of old, including Christmas, were being challenged left and right. Published and released on December 19, 1843, the book was sold out by Christmas Eve. It took off like a rockets and by the end of the following year was on its 13th edition.
Through his pivotal work, Charles Dickens captured many of the Western influences on Christmas that are now part of our traditions, including family gatherings, special holiday foods, and a spirit of giving.
We are living in a tumultuous time faced with great challenges and enduring trailblazing change. Many feel let down by our institutions and trapped by our traditions. Others are frustrated by the loss of what they have come to know and weary of the attacks railed against the norms of society. This is the essence of iron being forged and sharpened.
No doubt, we do not live in a perfect people. After all, the Planet Earth is populated with imperfect souls, each dealing with their own iniquities and challenges.
But, amidst all of this turmoil, we need to find it within ourselves to live more kindly and gently and even more lowly than we have exhibited ourselves capable of living in recent years. Harsh words eventually lead to harsher actions that yield brutal results.
In my opinion, we need Jesus even more in this moment than on that day some 2,000 years ago when God became flesh and chose to dwell among us.
My Christmas Prayer 2021
Heavenly Father, thank You for creating us and for giving us Your beloved Son, who came born to die so we might live. On this Christmas Day, let us reconsider how we treat one another. Help us put into action the Gospel we profess to believe and proclaim to have experienced. Help us be kind. Help us be gentle. Help us be loving. Help us be humble. Father God, change our hearts to celebrate the things that give You delight and bring You joy. Let us live lives praiseworthy of Your Great Name. This Christmas, let us reconsider Who’s we are and live accordingly in unity and oneness with Your word. Give us Your blessings as we give You our praise. In Jesus’ name and by the power of the Spirit, Amen.
As I mentioned in a recent post, the Lord has reminded Terri and I that people are what make life interesting and full of joy. We hope and pray that your Christmas is one overflowing with goodness and abundant with joy. May you experience the blessings of love and giving that this season brings. May we all remember the hope that came on that first Christmas thousands of years ago.
The Devotional Guy™
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