Merry Christmas: A Return to Peace, Love, Charity this Holiday Season

christmas tree
Merry Christmas. We shout "Merry Christmas" out to strangers, proclaim it on tacky sweaters, blare it in bright red and green lights on our lawns, and even throw it away on discarded half-used paper plates from the last office Christmas party, but what does "Merry Christmas" really mean, for the family like the Hands that might spend this Christmas at a pediatric cancer hospital? 

What does "Merry Christmas" mean for newly broken families that have to forge holiday memories minus loved ones? Or for the lonely forgotten vet in his degraded mobile home or the family that survives from one fast food paycheck to another fast food paycheck? What is merry for the depressed college student struggling with addiction and loneliness or the soldier spending Christmas in the desert this year? 

What is so merry in this topsy-turvy world? What hope can there be this Christmas?

But there is hope. 

"Merry Christmas" was once more than a Hallmark greeting or another excuse for Walmart to have another ridiculous sale of plastic junk. Christmas did not mean that Johnny and Suzy received the latest i-Phone. "Merry Christmas" alluded to a hope, hope through the Word that brought messages of peace hope and love, do well unto others, and acceptance of the neglected members of society - widows, orphans, criminals, the poor, children, women, oppressed races, the sick. 

That Child in the manger brought more than little stories to tell in a plastic-coated spending holiday. He brought joy and security in a world that then like now was buried in its own materialism, war, power, and pride. 
Free Coats for the Homeless this Holiday
Modern society so quickly dismisses Christ, mistaking His message of joy for the sick and twisted actions of men who perverted the a Gospel of love, acceptance, and peace. 

True Christianity was never about the haves destroying have-nots, races destroying other races, gender destroying gender, country destroying country.  

The Gospel is the story of acceptance regardless of race or class or gender or age or ability or job or dress or language or country. The Gospel is the story of salvation for all men and women, all children, all societies. Perhaps this is why the Gospel has exploded in areas like Africa, Latin American, and Asia where the Christ that loves the poor shines through His people despite very real dangers. At the same time, the Christ of the American Christmas has been buried by materialism, greed, capitalism, politics, power, racism, and anger as we bathe in our voluptuous wealth. Is it no wonder that so many Americans struggle with pure joy despite our great blessings? Is it no wonder that the neediest in our society struggle with poverty in the world's wealthiest nation? We need a return to the purest forms of the Gospel. If your belief in Christ is little more than status or a story or is empty buried in credit card bills, I challenge you to return to the Word, return to the faith, return to the simplest acts of giving and prayer, of a smile to a stranger, or forgiveness of a family member this holiday season.


This Christmas, whatever your blessings or hardships, look to Bethlehem. Accept Christ and know joy, true peace, and hope. 
And that is what I mean when I say "Merry Christmas". 
nativity


https://www.facebook.com/prayforgraysonhand-------
Thank you for visiting this site. I appreciate the support of my fans. This winter, there are many local shelters and charities in need of food and clothing items for the poor. If you do not have a local charity, church, synagogue, or community center that you can help, you can check out the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Jewish Charities of America, and Charity Navigator (which "vets" charities). Please continue to keep 3 Year Old Grayson Hand in your prayers this Christmas. This is the first holiday season that he has leukemia, and the family is stretched emotionally, physically, and financially. You can click on Gray's photo in the right hand column to find out more about the family. 


Thank you for your prayers and Happy Holidays! 
Sabrina
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