There’s no time of year like Christmas. No other season is as busy, as crazy, as absurd, and as insane. Everyone’s running around doing something, whether it’s cooking or baking, shopping or wrapping presents, travelling or working. And then there’s the requisite Christmas Eve rehearsals at church and the million and one social events. Before you know it, your entire calendar for December is stuffed full, and you don’t have a single moment to spare.
I’m speaking from experience here. This always happens to me. And I always swear I’m going to slow down some day, but I never seem to figure out how. So before today gets away from me, I just want to take a moment and stop.
Today’s verse is Nehemiah 8:10.
And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
The ornament pictured in this photo isn’t an ornament. It’s a key chain, but I’m hard on key chains. And it broke. So I stuck it on a wire hanger and hung it on my handmade Christmas tree. For those of you who aren’t science fiction nerds like me, this is Serenity a space ship from Joss Whedon’s amazing television series Firefly. It has nothing to do with Christmas. Nothing at all. But it made me smile.
I think that’s something people need to do more of, especially in the Christmas season. Smiling is good for your health, and it’s good for the health of other people around you.
The book of Nehemiah is a really interesting story because much of it is told in narrative format, which is unusual for the Bible. Nehemiah is in charge of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, and this particular verse comes from a moment when the Law was read out loud to the people and they understood it. They were all so overwhelmed with being able to understand the words of the Law, they wept. And that’s why Nehemiah was telling them to stop crying and go party.
Honestly, I think that’s news American Christians need to hear. Our country is in a dangerous place right now, and there’s trouble everywhere you look. Name a part of American society, and I bet you can find something wrong with it. We’re a mess. And I know lots of people who are actively engaging in trying to right the wrongs in our country, and I have the highest respect for them. But sometimes I wonder if we all just take ourselves too seriously.
Don’t get me wrong. A lot of this is serious stuff, and it deserves to be taken seriously. But all the time? Do we have to focus on everything that’s wrong in our world constantly?
Come on, Christians. Lighten up. Rejoice in your salvation. That’s what Christmas is about. It’s a time for us to celebrate and remember that our Savior came for us so we could have life! And not just life–abundant life. A rich life. A life full of joy and hope and peace and wonderful experiences.
It’s easy to get down about what’s happening in our world, and it’s even easier to get down about all the things that are wrong in America. But take a moment and try to focus on something that’s going right, even if it’s just the relationship between you and God. If that’s all you have to celebrate, you still have a huge reason to rejoice. Because you’re right with God. Through Christ, you’ve been reconciled to God, and you’ll never be alone. And if that isn’t worth celebrating, I don’t know what is.
Maybe the world is a mess and maybe America is falling apart, but that doesn’t mean we have to focus on that this Christmas season. Instead, focus on what God has done in your life today. The joy you find in Him will strengthen you so that you can face any challenge.
So stop crying, Christians, and let’s party. We have a lot to celebrate.