Celebrating with joy in our heartPublished 5:07pm Monday, December 24, 2012
By Cory Horton, Pastor of Elkdale Baptist Church
Like most of you, I thoroughly enjoy this time of year. I love the lights, homemade goodies, and of course lots of big meals with family and friends.
I adore the special music at church, and the colorful clothes the children wear. I like saying “Merry Christmas” and asking strangers in the store their opinion on gifts I should buy.
Above all these, I enjoy gathering at church with my Faith Family and worshiping Jesus. However, in light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut, I found myself losing my zeal for Christmas.
Like you, over the past week I have cried each time I watched the news, hugged my children tighter than ever before and prayed for people I have never met.
As I watched the reports, I have to admit that part of me felt guilty about enjoying Christmas. Seeing my family, buying presents and watching children perform Christmas programs just does not seem right.
As this feeling of guilt and despair was mounting in my soul I read again the Christmas story and I was reminded from the Word of God that school shootings are exactly why we have Christmas. Jesus left Heaven, came to earth so that sinful, broken mankind would not be left alone to their demise. He entered the world in the midst of a war zone.
If you read the Christmas story, you will see how when Jesus was born, every child 2-years-old and younger was sentenced to die (Matthew 2:16). Yet, He came to bring peace and hope.
When the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph to tell him what to name the baby in the manger he said; “you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”(Matthew 1:21)
Let us remember Christmas is not about food and fellowship, singing or presents, it’s about our Savior who gave up Heaven for a stable so that we might be delivered from this present evil. Jesus came, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified for our sin, was buried and on the third day rose from the grave so that anyone who would turn to Him might be saved.
While I am saddened over the recent events, Christmas reminds me God has made a way for all who will receive Him to be delivered from this world. Praise be to God, Jesus came.
Let us, with joy in our hearts, celebrate Christmas knowing that the child who was born in a crib now wears the crown and will one day return and finish what He started in Bethlehem, “Peace on Earth!”