There is something about the Christmas season that is sure to light up most any face (except for the most die-hard Scrooge), especially as we get closer to the big day. And it seems that the Christ of Christmas shows himself to us in several meaningful ways that we would least expect this time of year. We hear complaints about the commercialism and the ‘busy-ness’ that go along with the season. I’ll admit that I’ve written about how our family sometimes wishes the pace of life was a little slower.
But wish as we may to go back to a slower time, we take what we can get, as the old saying goes, and this time of year gives us just the break we need.
Like every other child across the U.S., our son gets a couple of weeks off from school, which he, of course, loves. At our publishing offices, we run a ghost ship for the week between Christmas and the New Year, responding only to the most urgent of messages. And my wife takes a short break around Christmas, and then a longer week off right after the first of the year.
So, in short, we get some time together as a family. And as cliché as it might be, that’s time we truly treasure in our incredibly fast-paced world. Our children grow up and, before we know it, our grandchildren are almost grown, too.
We were visiting about the Christmas season at church recently. And we were discussing that the significance it holds for us — the celebration of Jesus’s birth — also leads us to more time together as families. And it’s that closeness and time together that Christ affirms himself when he talks about caring for one another in Christ-like love.
So, our learning and takeaway has been this, both in our family and our church family: Not all of our Christmas activities have to focus specifically on the Christmas story or hearing about the Baby in the manger (not to take away from these stories, by the way).
It seems as the years go on that we find increasing value — both as Christians and as family members — in spending quality time together over the Christmas season. Jesus gave us both our families and church families for an important reason — to love and cherish, just as he does.
After all, Christmas begins in our heart.
Christopher Dixon is the Chief Operating Officer of eLectio Publishing (electiopublishing.com) and the pastor of West Finley Baptist Church near Fordland, Mo.