By the time you will have read this, here are a couple of things that have happened. A woman talks to me about how we need to get back to celebrating the reason for the season. I've heard this a number of times from folks but still I nod my head and agree with her as if this were some new idea. I walk on because I'm on my way to see my children's school Christmas play. It tickles me to see them on stage in their costumes. Despite their nervousness of being in front of the crowd, they remember their lines and words to the songs. They tell the story of Christmas so innocently as only little children could. Nevertheless, the play ends and we must be on our way. Both the wife and I feel the pressure of a million things needing to be accomplished before this Wednesday.
In case you couldn't tell, my holiday season has been a tapestry of both moments of frustration and stress as well as joy and peace. Although I don't advocate my experience as the normative one, I do think it bears some similarities to the original story. As I recall, Mary was very pregnant as her and Joseph made the journey to Bethlehem. To me, that doesn't sound very joyful or peaceful. I also remember reading where Mary is very close to giving birth and Joseph is frantically trying to find a place for his wife to give birth. Doesn't sound very peaceful to me. Being told that there was no room in the inn, Joseph and Mary find refuge in a place designated to shelter animals. It's not a five star hotel but it will have to do. Joseph sees his wife through the labor of their firstborn named Jesus. Then you could sense it... joy and peace have taken the place of stress and frustration. Sitting there with their baby boy was a divine moment. It wasn't that for just Mary and Joseph but for everyone else who dropped by to pay homage to the newborn king.
Praying that the frustration and stress that accompanies your Christmas season, will give way to the joy and peace of knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior. He is God's gift to humanity. He is God's gift to you. Others may buy you toys and what not this season but God has given you Himself. Praying that you accept Him this Christmas. There is no greater gift than Jesus.
("From the Pulpit" is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)