Merry Christmas! Today I have a sweet Christian bloggy friend over to talk about the meaning of Christmas. Before she starts, though, I have an announcement: due to low entries, I'm opening up the Christmas Talent Contest to all ages! Don't forget to enter!
In the Christian World, you hear a lot of protest over too much commercialization. There's lots of signs that echo the refrain, "Put Christ back in Christmas!", many parents who teach their children how Jesus, and not Santa Clause, is the real reason for the season, and still a few souls who try to keep their focus on the Savior instead of going google-eyed in the glare of Christmas lights and drooling over coveted presents.
This is all well and good, I'm all for it! But I want to go deeper than that. Even more than appreciating the sacrifice and light that's been brought to the whole world, I want to focus on what Christmas means for one person. What it means for the individual - you and me.
To do this, I'd like to start with a story.
When I was a little girl, around five, I was sitting next to my mom in church. I listened to the pre-service music and watched my grandpa sing softly in his chair on the platform. Turning my head, I looked at my curly-headed sister playing quietly with her crayons. I squirmed, looked around some more, then stretched my neck up to Momma's ear and whispered, "I love you." Mom smiled back, then bent down and whispered, "I love you too, Anna." We were silent once more, waiting for service to start. But, strangely, mom leaned down again. "Do you know, that even if I didn't love you, if nobody loved you, that Jesus still would?"
Those words have echoed in my memory for years and years, most especially, the times when I felt all alone, like nobody cared.
Quite a few "best friends" and favorites have moved out of my life, sometimes slowly, simply slipping out of my scene, but sometimes it really hurt. I remember, during the worst of these situations, lying on my bed, sobbing unabashedly over a friend who decided to distance herself. Mom sat on the foot of the bed, trying to help, as she did through those months of bitterness. Dad tried to help me, too, and both of them did; but it was God who finally took the last stitch out of my heart, one night.
It's so glorious, and this story so personal, that the tears are starting to come back! That night, God revealed his love to me. Not just a "Jesus loves me, this I know" version, but the love that says "I'll never leave you or forsake you. I'll be your friend. I know every last detail about you; how many hairs are on your head, what color your bedroom is painted, every hurt hidden in your heart... I saw when you cried, in the dark, and thought nobody knew. I am interested in your life, Anna. I care."
Then, I found every fear had vanished, in that love. I didn't care if I never got married. I didn't care if nobody accepted me for who I was. I didn't care if I never had friends. I had all the love I ever, ever needed, and all I wanted to do, was spend my life trying to give back that love.
That's what Christmas is about, for me. It's when my peace was born. My healing, my love, my strength. That's when hope was born for my life, that's when victory and deliverance came into being for this young lady. That's when someone loved her so much, that He left his riches and came to live a pauper's life, then die, with His bones exposed and out of joint, blood gushing, excruciating pain wracking through His body. Nails were hammered through His hands, both His feet... spit streaming down His face, until His last, very best friend had to look away, like almost every disciple - nearly every individual who had shouted "Hosanna!" a few days before - and He was left, completely alone. "Because He first loved me."
That's what Christmas is about. It's a love story; He's the main character and you're the one He's seeking after. He's the prince, you're the beggar. He wants to make you into a princess, supply your every need, heal your hurts and make you beautiful. He wants to be your best friend.
Spend some time with him every day. Thank Him. Serve Him. Let Him be your first love.
Anna Pyatskowit is a Christian and teenage girl who makes her own clothes, is homeschooled, and blogs at The Daughter of the King. She enjoys baking, playing the piano, writing, and the outdoors - among other things.