11 Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12 the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13 let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
The night is far gone, the dawn is about to break…Christmas is upon us!
After all the weeks (or months?) of preparation, the rushing around, the shopping, the cleaning and cooking, all the Christmas projects and programs, we have finally arrived…Christmas is within our grasp!
This season can cause us a lot of stress and anxiety, as there is so much to be done and as single parents, we are often caught up in doing most of this work on our own…we are the ones who have to go shopping, make sure the house is decorated, manage all the obligations for school and church, and often has to manage the holiday visitation schedules, and deal with the fall-out of plans interrupted and promises broken.
The holiday can also put a lot of stress on our finances, which may not have been in great shape to begin with…are pushed even further to the brink by all of the extra spending that comes with Christmas…even a low-budget Christmas like mine!
And for those of us who have lost loved ones, this season can be a time of memories, both good and bad, painful and pleasant.
Now that it is Christmas Eve, the worst of it is over (I hope) and perhaps you are looking forward to spending time with your family, following your own traditions: going to church, watching a well-loved movie, putting up the final decorations, having a special meal, exchanging gifts, hanging stockings, telling stories, singing carols, etc.; and this is the perfect moment to stop and remember what the holiday is really all about! To remember that the light which shines at Christmas does not come from the local super-store or mall, nor does it come from the glowing box that inhabits our living rooms, but from a small child who was born into a poor family in a stable located in a back alley on the bad side of a strange town!
When he was born, Jesus was not surrounded by the best of everything. Yet, while Jesus and his family did not have much (remember it would be almost two years before the wise men arrived with their gifts) they did have faith: they believed that God had touched their lives with grace and love, and they shared these gifts with their child…who in turn, shared his light with all those with whom he taught and preached.
This light…freely given as a gift of God’s love for us, is the real ‘reason for the season’ and it is when we share this light with our children, with each other, and with the world that this light shines brightest! This light gives hope to all those who have known darkness in their lives (in other words, everyone!) and in this hope is our reason to celebrate!
Now is the time to share this light, the light of a new dawn, the light that shines softly from the simple stable and then brilliantly on Easter morning, the light we carry with today…the light we pass on to our children, who can see how our faith can sustain us through all the challenges we face in our lives…faith that assures us that we never face these challenges alone; for this is the promise of Christmas: that through Christ and all who follow him, it is God who walks with us, surrounding us with love that is unearned and unceasing!
The same kind of love that we share with our own children…and where that love is shared the light of Christ grows and the darkness fades!
And this is THE reason to celebrate!
Let us Pray:
God, thank you for Christmas! Thank you for coming to live as one with us as a sign of your great love for us! Thank you for bringing the light of that love into the darkness of our world. Today, on Christmas Eve, please help us to put aside our worries and our stress, and to pause to share the joy of this light with our children and with each other, so that we can experience your love in the midst of our own lives. Let us remember that we are called to carry this light wherever we go, and that when it is shared it only grows brighter, and your Kingdom comes closer!