Armed for battle, I stepped onto the battlefield strong, determined, and focused. Like an Indy race car driver, I navigated boxes of shiny paper, bags of bright bows, and rows of glittering ornaments. Up and down aisles filled with Christmas ‘must-haves’, stuffed animals (with scary, bulging eyes), and everything Frozen.
Surveying the greeting cards, I quickly dismissed gleeful offerings of Merry X-mas and Happy Holidays.
The battle to keep Christ in Christmas was real.
But the hype and rush are contagious and spread like a vicious rash. Craziness crescendos as Amazon boxes and gift catalogs pile higher. My reason for the season gets lost in a sea of lists, lines, and lights refusing to blink.
A long-distance letter arrived from a sponsored child with Compassion International. Like a balm, kind and gentle words soothed and softened my battle-weary heart.
Christmas is about peace and love. I ask you to pray for all the orphans in the world. Pray for those who don’t have anything to eat. ~ Israel, age 11, Peru
From 3600 miles away, Israel’s heart beat with the pure meaning of Christmas. Peace and Love remain when the distractions of Christmas are stripped away.
Israel’s words challenged me to rethink my battle plan.
Extend to family and friends, who believe, vote, and cheer differently, the Peace that filled a lowly manger. Grant Peace in crowded parking lots and post office lines.
Offer to neighbors and struggling families the Love wrapped in swaddling clothes. Give Love to tired toddlers and exhausted cashiers. Love the homeless, hungry, and orphaned.
Soak in Peace and Love from God’s Word. Distribute freely.
No need to convince WalMart, Costco, or Hallmark they are missing the point. Whether the world acknowledges Christ at Christmas or not, the battle is over. It’s already been won.
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30 (NIV)
Because of Christ, we’ve won. We are victorious December 25 and beyond because of a quiet manger, bloody cross, and empty grave.
It is finished for our past, present, and future.
Thank you, Israel. When Peace and Love permeate Christmas, Christ is there too.