Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noël, Feliz Natal

It's Christmas Eve and I just realized that this will be the third country that I have lived in during Christmas. It's a thrill for me to experience other cultures and see how they live everyday and celebrate holidays. I have spent Christmas in several U.S. states but have also had the opportunity to experience Christmas in Brazil, South America and now Switzerland. I have enjoyed every Christmas to date but this year will definitely be memorable. Switzerland fully embraces the holiday. Here, they start decorating at the first of December and even the smallest Mom and Pop shops have unique and charming decorations and window displays. This is a very family-centered and God-centered culture and community. And although they pay much attention to decorating for the holiday, there is a great sense of appreciation for the true meaning of why we celebrate.  I respect the freedom for everyone to celebrate the holiday as they choose, but as a Christian, Christmas is intended to remind us of our history.

The Christmas story is not a fairytale told to children. It is not a fiction novel filled with fictional characters. These events actually happened! The birth of our Saviour is an important part of our past. When Jesus entered the world as human He brought with Him the hope of salvation. Were it not for this very special moment in our history, there would have been no cross, no triumph over death and the gift of salvation would not be available to us. But He DID come to earth, humbly as a child - born in a manger and from infancy grew to be our loving Saviour who loves us still today.

I never stop being amazed by the unfathomable love God has for us. Christmas is our reminder of hope, a re-confirmation of God's love and a time to humbly appreciate the Life God has given us and the future He has made available to us through His son.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).

I recommend that you read the Christmas story from the Bible today and whether it is your first time reading it or you've read it a hundred times - when you read it- look at it as part of our social history - something you would find in textbooks. Because the truth is, they are historical facts. It is not globally embraced as such, but that does not diminish its validity. This powerful story is not merely a story - but it is one of the greatest events in human history. Think about that as you read it.

I sincerely wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I hope that each of you are surrounded by  loved ones and that you have a blessed New Year!


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