Christmas is Still Christmas Because of God

“Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children” - 1 John 3:11b

Dear Friends,

This Christmas will be different, in so many ways. Where we go, what we do, how we celebrate, how we gather - whether we gather at all - in so many ways, Christmas 2020 will be different than any other we’ve experienced before.

But it will also be the same.

The story of God’s breaking in to human history in the person of Jesus Christ - the unexpected baby, wrapped in clothes and lying in a lowly manger, surrounded by Mary, Joseph and animals, announced by Angels, visited by Shepherds and Magi from the East - the story is the same. The God of the universe is the same. Jesus is with us no matter where we go and what we do, how we celebrate and in what numbers we gather.

That has nothing to do with us. That’s all about God. God doesn’t change. God’s love and care, God’s faithfulness and forgiveness, God’s absolute and unending presence among us, doesn’t change one iota.

Regardless of what’s going on in our world, our community, our home or our hearts, Christmas is still Christmas because of God.

And Christmas can also be the same… in the way we love each other.

Whether you’re watching old classics like Miracle on 34th Street or brand-new offerings like The Christmas Chronicles, the idea of the “Christmas Spirit” is something we’re well aware of. It’s that warmth that seeps into our bones on the chilliest nights, guiding us to share with a neighbor. It’s the smile that spreads across our face as we greet a stranger. It’s why we bake cookies and send cards and fill food pantries and toy drives - it’s why we work together as a community to provide something better for everyone around us. It’s the spirit of God, moving in our hearts and our hands.

That too, can remain the same this Christmas.

I was tremendously encouraged by the joint message put out by Pennsylvania religious and government leaders yesterday. They recognize the meaning of this season, the value in celebrating, the necessity of connecting and maintaining traditions and the deep desire to care for each other that crosses so many other barriers. To see these leaders stand side-by-side, urging us all to remain vigilant during this season was refreshing.

We are, most assuredly, together today. We are not all the same, experiencing this season in the same way, with the same struggles and stories, but we are together and the more we care for each other, the more we set aside our own desires for the sake of others, the more we make sure this Christmas, so different from every other, can also remain the same.

In different ways, with the same meaning and message,

Welcoming you to Grow in Jesus,

Pastor Don

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