This time of year, most of us are busy shopping, eating and spending time with friends and loved ones. It’s a time of year for generosity, gift-giving and reflection.
Though the Christmas season is filled with reminders of hope and uplifting stories of redemption, for many, this is a time of emotional turmoil and depression. Perhaps you’re facing the reality of being alone. Maybe you can’t financially provide the Christmas your family and loved ones deserve. Whatever the issue, it seems that at no other time of the year are our problems, phobias and worries more amplified than they are right now. That’s why it’s so important that we never allow this time of year to become so secularized that we lose sight of the real essence of the season.
My grandpa loved to tell stories—I guess that’s where I got it. He had plenty of material but over time grandpa told the same stories over and over again. The funny thing about it was, he always prefaced any story by asking if I’d heard it. Even though we both knew I had, my immediate response was always the same, “no Grandpa, I don’t think I’ve ever heard that one before.” I learned early on that when I showed passion for his stories, it ignited his passion to tell them. The punch lines may have been the same, but I never grew tired of hearing them because he never told a story exactly the same way twice and they always produced new truths in my heart.
The same is true with the story of Jesus. His birth, life, burial, resurrection—many of us have heard the story over and over and the tragedy is, that some have lost the passion to hear it again, thereby missing the great opportunity for an old story to bring new life and fresh perspectives.
The next time you sit down to read the nativity account or hear a Christmas sermon, pretend you don’t already know the end. With child-like enthusiasm, ask the Lord to tell you again and you’ll ignite His passion to share with us, gaining new appreciation for His loving kindness and selfless sacrifice. If the season’s getting you down, change your focus to Jesus and His story—there’s no better way in the world to feel loved.
I John 3:1, KJV:
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.
Have a blessed and wonderful holiday season.
– Ps. Ken
Ken VanHoose is the pastor of Spirit Life Church in Piqua, Ohio. Listen to his sermons online on the media page of Spirit Life Church’s website. You may also like to subscribe to his weekly sermon podcast.