"Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
- Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Last night I attended one of the most amazing events I've ever been to. I went with some girls from my church to The Well in Franklin, TN. It's a once a month worship service for women, and last night's service was obviously Christmas themed. Christy Nockels, who is a Christian music artist and one of the founders of the event, led the service with her Christmas music album. I was so touched by everything she sang and said. It's like she was talking right to me. You know how God brings you to a place or event because He knows exactly what you need to hear on that day, in that moment... yeah, that happened to me last night. Man, He's good.
I say all that to say that the service really got me to thinking about Christmas - the thrill of it, the hope that God gave us when He sent His son to us, the comfort of knowing that Jesus Christ was born to take away the sins of the world. All of it... it's just the sweetest story that was ever told. And then I thought about how I heard the story. I can't pinpoint the first time I heard it. It's almost like I was born knowing it... and that's because I've been hearing in since I was born. My grandparents, parents, pastors, and Sunday school teachers have shared it with me ever since I can remember. I am so thankful for that, because the birth of Jesus Christ has always been the center, the core, of my Christmas. My greatest gift has always been, and always will be, Jesus.
Have there been years where I may have gotten lost along the way, focusing on worldly things that take over the true meaning of Christmas... yes. But guess what? That doesn't matter. God forgives and welcomes you back with open arms. This Christmas, I'm reflecting more on that story. The story that made my eyes twinkle as a little girl and the story that fills my heart with hope as an adult. I have hope in knowing that my sins are forgiven as soon as I repent. I have hope in knowing that I will spend eternity with the King of Kings. How do I have this hope? Because of the Virgin Mary, and the room in the manger, and the star that led the wise men, and the shepherds that came to see, and because of the baby that was born that night... The Savior of the World.
Fitting enough, the verse above was part of my daily Bible study this morning. I heard the Christmas story from my family, because they repeated it to their children, and talked about it in our house. For that I am forever grateful. The meaning of Christmas will always be alive in my heart because of them sharing it with me, and part of Christmas is sharing the story with the world.. for all to hear. So I'm starting here. Sharing what Christmas means to me and the hope that it brings me. But I'm not ending it here, and I hope you won't either. Go tell it on the mountain... Jesus Christ is born! What a glorious day and what a sweet, sweet story to share.