Christmas Every Day
Yesterday we celebrated Christmas. For some of us, it was a heavy day marked by the presence of absence. For others, it was full of laughter and fun as we celebrated with family and friends.
Whatever your experience, I believe God is with us. I love Kerry Robinson's reflections on Henri Nouwen. Savor these words with me:
Henri Nouwen said, "The central truth of your life—of all of our lives—is to know, to know truly and completely, that God loves you just for being you." He went on to explain that we spend all of our adult lives doubting this, talking ourselves out of this, refusing to believe it, arguing against it. But every once in a while we experience the profound conviction of God's radical unalterable love for us. And that is a powerful, transformative moment of grace.
'Every once in a while we experience the profound conviction of God's radical unalterable love for us.' Wow.
That's the ultimate Christmas gift. And it's a theme that runs through the Scriptures. Look at what Paul prayed for the Ephesian church!
I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God's love, and to know Christ's love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
That's the Christian life: for God's people to be filled with all the fullness of God. Why? Because God has made us his temple, his dwelling place.
It seems the early Christians all knew this. It was why their lives were dramatically different. And mission exploded across the Roman empire. What Paul says to the Ephesians, Peter expresses in 1 Peter 2:4-5:
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
In the Incarnation, Jesus 'tabernacled' among us (John 1:14). He was the living stone - and now, by God's grace, we are the living stones of God's temple. And we serve within the temple as a holy priesthood!
Christmas is a time to celebrate that Jesus came and lived among us. But now, because the Holy Spirit dwells within us, we can celebrate Christmas every day. Because the greatest gift of Christmas is the ongoing presence of God in our lives. He is our Friend.
But here's the million-dollar question: so what?
If we say that we are filled with the very presence of God, a love so pure and holy that it drives away the darkness of sin, and cleanses everything that it shines upon, what follows?
Jesus taught his apostles, "It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master" (Matthew 10:25). Paul got the message. He told the church in Corinth, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1). Peter said the same thing: Jesus is a living stone, and so are you!
For Christmas, God has given himself to you. So we have all we need to love God and our neighbors! And that's what it looks like to celebrate Christmas every day.
I invite you to experience “the profound conviction of God's radical unalterable love” - and challenge you to love others in the same way.
Discuss this essay with an international community of Christians: