Faith & Insight: The perfect Christmas
December 24, 2016
Do you remember the old movie "Christmas Vacation" with Chevy Chase? Chevy played the part of Clark Griswold. The only thing Griswold wanted for Christmas was for everything to be perfect. Accidents, visiting relatives, snobbish neighbors and an uncooperative family made that perfect Christmas impossible for Griswold. I don't have a problem with that. Christmas has never been about everything being perfect.
Christmas is about Jesus. Most of us wouldn't consider the first Christmas perfect. Joseph and Mary were far away from where they wanted to be. They had quickly finished their marriage vows and had to run off to Bethlehem to register for the census. This young couple had no family or friends nearby to receive them. They stayed in a shelter made for animals and gave birth to Jesus there. Jesus was placed in a manger (a feeding trough of some kind). Not what you would think of as the perfect place for Christmas.
I love the way God uses humble situations to do extraordinary things. The Son of God "who, being in very nature God … made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness …" he was born in a barn and placed in a feeding trough. You can't get more extreme than that.
Christmas isn't about perfection. It's about a God who cares for us so much he did everything to connect with us. The Gospel of John put it this way: "The Word became flesh …" God became flesh! The Gospel also said "the world did not recognize him." Jesus, the Son of God, walking through the streets healing, serving, loving, and yet he wasn't recognized. Do you think we would recognize him today?
Sunday morning people are going to wake up and celebrate Christmas. Churches will have Christmas services. Families in big houses and other families living in hotels or maybe they have no home at all will be celebrating one of the most important Christian holidays. Enjoy the trees and presents, the Christmas meals and desserts. Enjoy the service at your home church and your loved ones.
But remember, it doesn't have to be perfect like Clark Griswold wanted it. It just has to recognize Jesus is the reason for the season.
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Merry Christmas, my friends, and may God richly bless you this Christmas.
Captain Mark Cyr is pastor of The Salvation Army, 661 Colorado St. Carson City, NV 89701. For information go to carsoncitysalarmy.org.