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Remembering the true meaning of Christmas

Pastor Sean DeLawder
Thurmont Trinity United Church of Christ

(12/1) With Christmas rapidly approaching, it is appropriate for those of us who call ourselves “Christians” to reflect on this special and holy time of year. With all of the shopping for gifts, going to parties, holiday baking, sending out cards, decorating the house, and the many other distractions, we can easily get caught up in the busyness of the season, and forget the reason why we celebrate. Especially this year, when there has been so much division in our world, so many natural disasters, fears of potential wars, among other things, that is so important that we focus on what the birth of Jesus means to us as individuals and collectively.

The prophet Isaiah, while he too was living in times of uncertainty, fear of war and political turmoil, gave a message of hope to the people by reminding them that it is God who is in control, and that it is through God that peace would come; but they (we) had to live as people of God.

In the book of Isaiah, the prophet in chapter 9 says, that there will be no gloom for those who are in anguish, “for a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace.” (vs 6-7). Christians view Isaiah’s prophetic words as the promise of the birth of Jesus, who would be the savior that God sends to redeem the entire world; the light that will overcome the darkness. Jesus himself says in the gospel according to John, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (8:12)

It is important to always remember this message, but especially during Advent and Christmas, we should reinforce this message within our own hearts, and spread this message to all who we encounter. For many people, Christmas is a time of great joy, but for just as many others, Christmas is a time of great sadness, hardship, and darkness. Regardless of your feelings of pain or joy, the light of Jesus shines down upon all of us, and in this way, Jesus calls on us to shed this light wherever we go.

Christmas is not about the gifts and the decorations, it is about giving thanks to God for the gift of Jesus and the promise of love and peace to a broken world. I pray that you too will walk in the light of God’s love and that you will share this love and light during this holy season and throughout all the year. For if we all can bring our flame, no matter how small it may seem, together, we can spread God’s light which will illuminate and bring love and healing to our world.

Join us on Sunday mornings at Trinity United Church of Christ, to hear more about God’s love and good news for us - worship is at 11 a.m. at 101 East Main Street, Thurmont. There will be a Christmas Eve Service at 7 p.m.. For information about Trinity UCC, our services or for questions about what you read in this article, call 301-271-2305 or email Pastor Sean at PastorDeLawder@aol.com. You may also learn more about us or at our website – www.trinityuccthurmont.org. We welcome you to share your thoughts.