nativity blueI remember, as a child, being well cognizant of the facts concerning Christmas as a celebration of Christ’s birthday, a commemoration of the greatest gift ever given humanity, the Lamb of God, who would be the salvation of man from sin.  Still, I considered those things “the boring part” of Christmas that I had to endure between the fluffy, sparkly, magical sweetness of Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty.  I had the bread of life, but preferred cake! 

Grown-ups take for granted the things that matter and even despise them in preference for our idols too.  We make ourselves comfortable while others go without.  There is a real temptation to indulge our fancies and cravings just because the occasion, we think, gives us license.  Today is a day to remember the gift of deliverance.  Why commemorate deliverance be reentering the prison of our addiction?  Why indulge a flesh that is destined for destruction?  This year, may Christmas be a day of the liberation of recovery, another twenty-four hours of one-breath-at-a-time living, looking for God’s will for us and the power to carry it out, rather than an opportunity to chuck it all and start again on New Year’s Day.

God’s will for us has never been gluttony, idolatry, selfishness, vain conceit, greed, immorality, drunkenness.  One day at a time starts whenever we say so, and “bottom” is the place where we finally decide to stop digging the grave we’re in and start climbing out.  May this Christmas be one of upward progress!

I can think of only one thing worse than dying for something, and that is watching one of my children die for that something.  God did both for you and me.  Jesus Christ was God, and at the same time He was God’s child.  God gave both Himself and His son … for you!  If you are worth the Creator dying for and offering His son for, then you are worth whatever it takes to thrive through this holiday and every day afterward.

Dear Father, today, I thank You for the amazing gift of Your Son, whose sacrifice You declared from the beginning.  I recognize that You have formed every life in Your image and that our selfishness warps that image.  Help me live today as a reflection of the original image, sustained by Your providence rather than the empty fluff which my flesh craves.  Help my friends who read this do the same.  God spread Your peace that comes through freedom from sin.  I know I cannot serve two masters.  Help me always choose You rather than selfishness.  Help me choose the Bread of Life rather than cake.

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11, NKJV)