Posted by: Tim | January 6, 2010

Christmas Article: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Here is my Christmas article which appeared in the Three Hills Capital. I guess it’s a little late to post it but maybe it will still be an encouragement to someone, and maybe next year the googlers will find it.

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Christmas! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so one famous song says. There are a lot of things to like about Christmas – the lights, the decorations, the presents and the Charlie Brown Christmas special, with honourable mention to the Grinch, just to name a few. Growing up I often participated in school and church Christmas concerts, with choirs, orchestras, elaborate sets, singing, drama, and even puppets. This year I wanted to join the handbell choir (it just looks like a lot of fun ringing those Christmas bells), but ‘Tis the Season to be busy’, and time did not allow it.

However, I did have the opportunity to play a part in Bethlehem Walk, and I hope you were able to visit this re-enactment of the little town of Bethlehem on Main Street, Three Hills. I had to grow a beard for it, which was a step of faith for me, since I’d never had more than a few days growth. But it turned out OK, and along with Sweis Ubels, I was an elder at the gates, welcoming people to Bethlehem. Along with some fun bantering between us and the many visitors to our little town, we tried to remind everyone who entered our gate about the ancient prophecy, written by the prophet Micah around 800BC, that one day a great ruler would come out of Bethlehem. As people walked through the town, they would eventually meet that ruler, the baby Jesus, in the manger scene at the end of the tour.

I often hear people suggest that we need to put Christ back into Christmas. But Christ is already at the center of Christmas, for the holiday is named after Him, and we wouldn’t have Christmas if He hadn’t been born.  The problem is not getting Christ back in the center of Christmas, for He’s already there. The problem is getting you and I back to the center of Christmas, for we are the ones who are prone to wander, and we need to find our way back home. We created Bethlehem Walk because we wanted to help people move towards the center of Christmas.

What keeps you from focusing on the center of Christmas? Maybe it is the distraction of the holiday, for who is not at least a bit distracted by the frantic shopping and the constant hustle and bustle at this time of year? Maybe it is the consuming desire to have the perfect family Christmas, which takes so much effort and is over so very quickly. Maybe Christmas is not a happy time for you at all, because of past Christmas hurts, making for an unhappy annual reminder.  Maybe you feel that God has let you down, and Christmas represents only a memory of a hope in God that was lost long ago.

I invite you to point your internal compass back towards the center of Christmas. Sing a Christmas carol and think about the words of promise and hope found in Christ’s birth. Read the words of the Christmas story from the Bible (Luke 2). Pray and ask God to lead you back to the center of Christmas. That’s a prayer He wants to answer and you may be amazed at how He responds.

We live in a world where each of us needs true peace, real hope and pure joy, and the birth of Jesus Christ gives the most satisfying reason to sing along with chorus, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

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