Each Christmas is different for me.  Last year I was fired up to string lights outside the house, play holiday music, and plan the critical cookie-making batches.  This year not so much.  I think my holiday spirit has been muted by my back that I threw out at the gym a couple times in the last month. Or it might be because I can’t find the right amount of lights to string outside the house relative to the massive Disneyland lights seen throughout our neighborhood.

At this time last year Bethany was living with the sad anticipation that Pr. Larry would soon pass to be with the Lord.  Larry’s decline collided with preparations for Christmas around the office, and it made for a surreal season.   To know that Larry would not be with us but still see God show up through the outpouring of support and passion for Larry, Sharon and the family was so very moving.  Between Larry’s funeral and Jesus’ birthday, it was an exhausting 10 days of celebration.

How are you approaching Christmas this year?  With hope, with heartache, somewhere in between?  One way to reclaim Christmas is to reclaim our awareness of Grace.  The reason why God can extend grace to you through his Son is because he has taken everything about you into account.  He knows the environment you are in and the challenges you face.  He knows the connection between your health and your mood and attitudes.  He understands how you were raised and how what was said to you affects you and how it ties to your failures.  And God knows how you have responded to sudden successes.  He knows who you have lost and how you feel about yourself.  God sent his son into this world to extend grace to you because he has taken everything about you into account.

At Christmas we celebrate Grace because God is still birthing new life in us for us despite us.  That our potential is at its highest when we let the life of Christ grow and spill out to those around us.  God wants us to be successful in a way that we can be proud of ourselves.

So, Reclaim Christmas this year by once more showing God just how much we trust him.  Show God that you are prepared to go all in because he is dependable and trustworthy.  String lights, play holiday music, bake cookies, and throw a birthday party for Jesus.  And may God’s love in Christ be for you the one and only reason for the season.

By God’s Grace,

Pastor Jon