John, writing from the Isle of Patmos, affirmed the early Christians for their faithfulness during difficult times, but he also cautioned them not to abandon the love they had at first for Christ. It is fairly easy to express our love for the Christ-like way during the Christmas season, but it is more difficult not to abandon that love or grow weary serving Christ throughout the rest of the year. Let me suggest some ways to carry forward the impact of the birth of Christ with us into the rest of the year. Carry Christmas with you as a time of:
Remembering… remembering the stories about angels, the Bethlehem Inn, the cattle stall, the birth of a baby, a star, wise men and a manger crib.
Hearing… hearing greetings of “Merry Christmas,” “Peace on Earth,” and hearing familiar carols, Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus,” and Vivaldi’s “Gloria.”
Loving… loving by touching, listening, noticing, remembering, understanding, and embracing. “We love because he first loved us.”
Giving… giving gifts to those we love and appreciate, gifts to help the poor, needy and lonely. Let us continue to give the gift of our presence to others with our attention, love and concern. Celebrate the greatest gift of Christmas—the gift of God’s Son.
Receiving… receiving the wonder, beauty, and mystery of God’s presence in the birth of a child at Christmas.
Hoping… hoping for peace, compassion, good will, and tolerance among all people.
Thanking… thanking those who have helped us and loved us along the way.
Worshipping… worshipping by continuing to fall down faithfully before Christ and declaring that He is Lord of lords and King of kings.
If we seek to do these things maybe we can keep Christmas throughout the year.
O Loving God, help us to keep the real depth of Christmas with us every day in this new year. Amen.
William Powell Tuck