Warren, Rick (2008). The Purpose of Christmas. Howard Books, pp. 1-9.
Rick Warren begins The Purpose of Christmas with the question, “Why is Christmas such a big deal?” He has a point. In a world that so often denies Christ, there is still a tremendous stir this time of year. With December 25 less than two weeks away, many people are feeling this stir in not-so-pleasant ways. If that is you, I have one word for you . . . breathe.
You may be reading this in the middle of a busy office or in a heap of exhaustion after a day you thought would never end. Whatever your circumstances, I invite you to stop. Just stop. Before you read another word, close your eyes and take one deep, gut-raising breath. Go ahead, be extravagant – take two!
Now, where were we? Oh, yes; I believe it was the book of Luke:
There were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!
My attention goes first to the state of the shepherds. They were sore afraid. Sound like anybody you know these days? From job woes to jihad, we face many reasons to be terrified. The world seems to be spinning faster and faster – any day now, things will start flying off into space under the momentum. Evils we never dreamed possible have become the stuff of everyday headlines.
And lo, just as the light of angels cracked the darkness over Bethlehem, Christmas comes, bringing its sudden and singular message: Fear not! The purpose of Christmas will always be the bestowing of the Greatest Gift. Rick Warren points out this Gift is priceless. It lasts forever. It is indispensable in the here and the hereafter. But like any other gift, it is useless if left unwrapped beneath the tree. I pray the moments we spend together here will be an opportunity to unwrap your Gift anew, to be dazzled again by the brightness and beauty that filled the night sky so many years ago. The wonder is still ours for the pausing and asking.
May you feel His grace today,
The last Word:
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
Isaiah 9:2, NIV.
What terrifies you these days? What do you need to stop and lay in the hands of the Savior?