Well, we are less than two weeks away from Christmas. There are already presents under our tree as my wife and I have wrapped the gifts we are giving to each other and that we already have for other family members. The stores are all stacked with green and red merchandise as they lull customers into the buying mood with the sounds of old Christmas standbys playing over their sound systems. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of it all. Did I remember to get gifts for the family member? Did I get the right gift? Do I even have the money to get gifts? Still, there is much to be thankful for.

With each passing Christmas I find myself appreciating a few things more and more.

I appreciate the time with my family. It’s one of those things you don’t think much about when you are growing up and parents are just old grumps who want to keep you from having fun. Then I went to college and visits from and with my family became a much rarer and more appreciated commodity. Then I got married and truly started to appreciate the wonderful example of a marriage that my parents set for me. Then, surprisingly, as I grew up my siblings did to. They went from being the little rascals who were a thorn in the side of their eldest sibling to friends that I look forward to seeing whenever I get the chance. Sure, we squabble from time to time but I have seen that as we have grown up, moved out, and started our lives that we have not grown apart, but closer together.

I appreciate my wife. One reason Christmas is a special time for us is that it means we are just a few short weeks from celebrating our anniversary. It also means that I get to try and surprise my wife special gifts which I love doing. I have always been a gift oriented person (giving and receiving) and I look forward to Laura’s birthday and Christmas every year so that I can see her face light up when I found something for her that was totally unexpected. It is truly a wonderful thing to have such a wonderful person to share Christmas with.

I appreciate the real reason we celebrate Christmas. This year I find myself really listening to the words of the familiar carols. The words of the first two chapters of Luke seem to spring from the pages of my Bible with a fresh significance. Instead of focusing on how secular much of the world has made Christmas and in some cases their failure to even say the word “Christmas”, I choose to focus on the sacred. Christmas is supposed to be a time of victorious celebration for Christians. The world is a scary and messed up place, but Christians do not have to have the fear and despair of the rest of the world because we know the source of all peace. Yes, the birth of Christ is truly a reason for joyful celebration because His birth was only the beginning of a chain of events that would lead to His sacrifice and resurrection and in the future to the ultimate redemption of this fallen world.

I leave you with this and I hope that this Christmas season you can truly and joyfully sing, “O come, o come, Emmanuel.”


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