I was shopping for gifts in one of my favorite stores a few years back when I saw one of their signs announcing "The Perfect Christmas."
That's a nice sentiment, but it got me wondering: What does that really look like?
Does it mean that everyone in the family suddenly acts "just right" on Dec. 25? Does it mean the food is super delicious and everyone gets everything on their wish list?
Is a perfect Christmas all about living out a scene from your favorite holiday movie or greeting card?
If that's what Christmas boils down to, then we're all in trouble. That may be what the perfect Christmas commercial looks like, but last time I checked, the first Christmas included:
- A couple who had to travel to a faraway town because of a census.
- A young mother who had to lay her newborn son in a manger because there was no guest room available for her family.
- A guest list that included some simple shepherds who were out in the field and dared to believe what an angel told them.
Doesn't sound very perfect, does it? And yet that is how God ordained for His Son to enter this world to save us from our sins and reconcile us back to Him.
I hope this helps put things in perspective.
Let's try not to stress out about getting everything "just right" this Christmas. Presents are great, but God's presence is better.
Let's celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, remembering:
Jesus left the riches of heaven to come and rescue us. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:16 -17).
God is closer than we think. "'A virgin shall be with child, and will bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,'" which is interpreted, "'God with us'" (Matt. 1:23).
The best gift we could ever receive is eternal life in heaven through Jesus. "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?'" (John 11:25-26).
With all this in mind, let's bring on the holiday cheer. We have much to celebrate this Christmas! And instead of fussing and fretting about everything being picture-perfect, let's bless our family and friends with the gifts of love, joy, peace, patience and grace upon grace.
Nancy Gavilanes is an author, speaker, life coach and evangelist who has a passion to encourage people as they walk by faith and live their God-given dreams. She is the author of By Faith, Waiting on God Well, Abounding Faith and Crossing Your Jordan River and the host of the new "Abounding Faith for Today Podcast" on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Stitcher. Nancy has a master's degree in journalism from New York University, has been on short-term missions trips to five countries and has spoken to various groups, including to Christians working at the United Nations and to students at Nyack College. She has also given her brief testimony at her home church, Times Square Church. Connect with Nancy at AboundingFaith.com, on Twitter, Amazon or the "Abounding Faith for Today" podcast on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher.
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