Snow and family, Santa and gifts, kids and toys, Jesus and Christmas carols, love and generosity – these are the things we traditionally associate with Christmas. Watch any Christmas movie and any number of these themes will be prominently featured.
Yet here we are in 2015 and the temperature in Rock Hill, SC is expected to climb to a balmy 75 degrees. Instead of snow, we have a light rain. Santa is more likely to have traveled last night in a boat than a sleigh.
Here I am in 2015 and my family is everywhere but Rock Hill. My loved ones are celebrating Christmas today in Germany, New York, and Kentucky while I’m typing this blog in my kitchen drinking coffee and listening to Christmas music. Talk about timing – “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” just started playing on my Spotify channel. Monieca will be home January 13, but not today.
I’ve already enjoyed seeing photographs and videos from their Christmas morning in Germany and I’ve even spoken with them via Skype, but no hugs or kisses. It just isn’t the same.
And yet it is still Christmas.
The joy of Jesus’ love – and my family’s love – still fills my life and heart. There is peace and contentment.
Even though I enjoy the traditional things associated with Christmas, I give God thanks for this reminder that the peace and joy Jesus gives us does not depend on those things we usually think it does. The apostle Paul understood this when he wrote “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am” (Philippians 4:11).
Yes, I miss Monieca and my family. I’d rather be with them than separated from them by an ocean and nearly 5,000 miles. But the true peace and joy of Christmas come from one place only – from the One who is always wherever we are. If we know Him, we are never alone. That truth is part of the Christmas message. Like the Bible says, “They shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, ‘God with us’” (Matthew 1:23).
So I pray that you will know His joy and peace this Christmas, whatever your circumstances.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Pastor Steve Hogg