Christmas Day | Darrell Gwaltney
Christmas Day – Tuesday, December 25
When I was a child Christmas Day promised new toys, great food, and visits from family. It was one of my favorite days of the year. I would begin counting down the days to Christmas in early November.
Then, to my surprise and sometime disappointment, the presents would quickly be opened, the food would be eaten, and the family would go home. Everything I had waited for had come and gone. I would go to bed and wake up to a regular ordinary day. Now, I had a whole year to wait for Christmas again.
Christmas was one day in the year and once it was over then what it had to offer me was over. As I have grown into adulthood I have learned that Christmas is so much more than what I understood it to be in my childhood. I have learned to see Christmas as a promise of the work of God.
The scriptures remind us that God keeps promises. Time after time God makes the promise that God will come to dwell among us (Zech. 2.10). Christmas marks the day that God came among us in Jesus and when Jesus came among us, he brought all of God into our midst (John 3.34). In his coming, what it means to be a human being was changed forever.
We all eventually learn that Christmas should be about much more than just presents. We cling to the opportunities it provides for us to gather with our families and friends. Do we remember, though, the primary promise of Christmas? Since Advent and Christmas are about the once and future coming of Jesus Christ, we should remember not just what this day gives us but what it promises us as well.
The promise of Christmas that remains with us during the whole year is that, in Jesus, God redefined how we are to love one another. Christmas continues to give each day of every year as we love one another the way God loved us. It calls us to live for others, giving the gift of love each day and every day throughout the year.
Christmas calls us to bring the love of God into the lives of all we meet each day of the year. 1 John 4 reminds us of this clearly:
“Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us” (vs. 11-12).
May we live out the promise of Christmas each day of the coming year by loving all of those around us and having God live in and through us.
Dean, School of Religion
To download a digital copy of the 2012 Advent Guide, put out by Belmont’s School of Religion, click here.