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What does Christmas mean to you?

Most of us think of any number of things when it comes to Christmas! Right now there is the smell of an apple pie baking in the oven (thank you to my dear wife for that)! Maybe for you it brings to mind your family, your loved ones and of course to most children it’s about what will be under the tree. But the account of the first Christmas according to the Scriptures shows multiple lessons of one of the most important of all Christian responses - obedience. Both Mary and Joseph in their own individual encounters with the Lord had to follow Him in obedience to His plan. The shepherds had to obey in order to experience the wonderful blessing of seeing the Savior of the world come to be one of us. The Magi, later on, obeyed the voice of the Lord and returned to the own country by another way.

In the end, without obedience to the plan of God, the real meaning of Christmas is lost! But as the main players show, obedience to His plan is nothing but the beginning of something revolutionary!

Merry Christmas!

Keeping Christ In...

Christmas is just a few hours away, but I wanted to share some thoughts about how we hear so much about Keeping Christ In Christmas.

At this season of the year, I hear many believers make an important statement - something like, "We need to keep Christ in Christmas." I completely agree. Unfortunately for many this tends to be a seasonal soapbox rather than a daily, year-round commitment to "contend for the faith." I don't know, maybe it's because we feel that the daily balance of greetings at this time of year tips the scale too far in the direction of Happy Holidays and not Merry Christmas. And, then there's the whole X-mas abbreviation that is completely annoying and yet in my humble opinion, totally powerless to stamp out the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus said, "I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."

Keeping Christ in Christmas is not some kind of conservative political statement that absolutely must be made at this time every year just because we've heard some generic greeting too many times. Frankly, that idea is too small. Jesus didn't come into the world to create some subsection of a political party that would jump on a bandwagon of slogans at Christmastime. He came into the world to reach out with great love and compassion to the unbeliever (some of whom will claim to be offended at being wished a Merry Christmas). We who claim to be followers of Christ get offended at their offense and then start on a mission to somehow change it all. But when reading the Gospels, you will find that Jesus dealt with non-believers with grace while the "religious" crowd were often handed stinging rebukes for their outward piety and inward emptiness.

I don't think Jesus came into the world just to be at the center of Christmas. He came into the world to be the center of our lives every day of the year. After Christmas is over, are we keeping Christ in our New Year? We must pursue Him daily, not just at specific seasons of the year.

How do we accomplish this? Scripture always offers the best solution for us. The best way to keep Christ in Christmas is to keep Christ in our hearts and our daily lives through prayer. The greatest voice the Christian has is not at the polls or on some kind of soapbox at Christmas or any other significant Christian holiday, but the voice that James 5:16 says is "the prayer of the righteous" and that prayer is "powerful and effective." Keep Christ in... well, just keep Him in...everything!

From my heart to yours, Merry Christmas!