"Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." -- Philippians 2:2-4
For many people, Christians and non-Christians alike, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. So much anticipation surrounds Christmas Day, especially for the children who cannot wait for Santa to come and leave all their hearts' desires wrapped in festive packages, just waiting to be torn open on Christmas morning. For many of us, the most anticipated part of Christmas is the Christmas Eve service we will attend tonight. In warmly-lit sanctuaries all around the world, Christians will gather to worship their newborn King and to ponder in their hearts, as Mary did, the true wonder and miracle of Christmas.
Despite the frenzy of last-minute shopping and the stress of paying for it all, there is a kinder, gentler spirit of goodwill that surfaces in mankind in the days leading up to Christmas. If only for a few days, we are more generous toward those in need, mindful of how blessed we truly are, and a little more forgiving, perhaps, of those who offend us. What if every day could be like Christmas?
What if the pews of our churches were as full on Sunday morning as they are on Christmas Eve? Can you even imagine the impact we could have in this world if we walked with the Lord every day instead of just once a year?
What if we were kind to those around us all the time? The cashiers who ring up our Christmas purchases are likely the ones we see at the stores we frequent throughout the year. Why should our warm smiles and friendly conversation with them be limited to the holidays?
What if every day we were as sensitive to the needs of the underprivileged as we are at Christmas? The Salvation Army doesn't just need a handful of change tossed into a red kettle during Christmas. They work all year long to provide the needy and homeless with shelter, food, clothing, and the hope of the Gospel. If we indulged ourselves a little less throughout the year we could better support the charities who are working so hard to be the hands and feet of Christ to those in need.
What if we thought of Jesus as more than just a baby in a manger? You know, the story doesn't stop there. Jesus left the riches and glory of heaven to dwell as one of us in a world marked with every form of sin and evil, but there is so much more to his story. He grew up and became the sacrifice for all our sin so we could spend eternity with him in heaven.
This year, as we leave the twinkling lights and festivities of Christmas behind, let us resolve to take the spirit of Christmas with us every day of the year. There is no greater gift we could give our Savior than to extend his peace and goodwill to all mankind and to worship him more often than once or twice a year. He is worthy. He is waiting....for you and for me.