Christmas in My Heart



“Do you have any “Christ” related decorations?” I posed the question to the clerk at the popular retail store.

“Not really.” But he did disappear for a moment returning with a four-inch, golden cross dangling from a metal stand. “We have this.”

It was a pretty little thing and, yes, it was Christ related, but more from an Easter or year-round perspective. It wasn’t really a piece reflecting the birth of the Savior.

This year I noticed there isn’t much of Christ on the Christmas aisles of many mainstream retail store I visited. Don’t get me wrong, I love snowmen, reindeer, flashing lights, and Jolly Old St. Nick images as much as the next consumer, but I also see Jesus as the centerpiece of the season.

From an external perspective some of us might ponder His absence in much the same manner that witnesses long ago pondered the presence of the Star of Wonder that appeared out of nowhere in the northern sky. Some knew it announced the birth of the Special Baby, but others didn’t get it. I guess it’s the same way today.

Baby Jesus is being thrown out of public displays. No more CHRISTmas spirit wafting around many government buildings, retail stores, and military settings. They have opted, instead, for well wishes of “Happy Holidays”, the company of generic holiday trees, and the often vitriolic bah humbug at the mention of His name. It doesn’t seem right, but that’s the way it is. Interestingly enough, when that sweet little baby born 2000 years ago in humble surroundings grew into a man, He predicted that the world would be full of hate because of Him. Boy, He was right!!

But, here’s the good . . . no, the GREAT news! Baby Jesus, the Messiah, doesn’t only have to exist in the tangible world of touch, sight, and the almighty dollar. He exists in our hearts! A place no man can touch. Christmas in our hearts is a genuine JOY in the midst of a crazy world that doesn’t make much sense these days . . .  a world that marginalizes the birth, death, and resurrection of the only One who can save it. But that doesn’t have to ruin the season for those who honor Him. Do you know what I mean?

Christmas in my heart this year has taken many different forms:

  • the loving touch and kiss from my elderly mother showing her appreciation of me helping her navigate the Albuquerque Sunport so she could spend Christmas with my sister.
  • enjoying the symphonic belly laughs of my two sons enjoying brotherly time together.
  • being moved immeasurably by the Christmas message delivered in a movie theater when we all expected to be in our spiffy new building after a fire destroyed our old sanctuary July 4, 2012.
  • the blessing of watching a two-year sitting atop her daddy’s strong shoulders with raised hands (just like her momma) as we worshiped the Savior.
  • knowing that I am loved by an Almighty God who sent his Son to save a world in need.

There may not be many Christ-centered decorations in a world dominated by secular commerce and nay-sayers, but nothing says we can’t decorate our hearts in honor of the One who gave up his place in heaven to dwell among man for 33 years. So, pull out the most important decorations of all and get to work preparing your heart for Christmas Day with love, kindness, compassion, giving, and a lot of good will toward ALL men.

Christmas is CHRISTmas. Nothing says it HAS to be filled with electric lights on trees, bushes, and housetops. It is a special light that radiates from a heart devoted to CHRIST. So, let CHRISTmas thrive in your heart. After all, that grown-up Babe said that WE are the lights of the world. Let’s be sure to let our lights shine bright on CHRISTmas day and every day beyond!

©2013 Shona Neff

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