Each year I give Janice a tree ornament. Through the years, these ornaments tell a bit of our story. For example you could not look at our tree without coming to the conclusion at least one of us is a diehard Boston Bruins fan!
Such traditions become a rich part of our Christmas / our family celebrations. But as we are learning this year, the seasonal nature of life sometimes brings those traditions to a collision point with change. For the first time since 1988, the year Lisa was born, we will wake up on Christmas morning with no kids in the house; it's just part of the changing season we are in as a family. Recently our dog Chara felt the need to attack the Christmas tree and destroy some of our ornaments, including the very first Christmas ball I gave to Janice back in 1981.
There is a part of us that was saddened; that ball had hung on our tree for almost 35 years. But such is nature of life here on earth and these kinds of losses and changes often force us back to the heart of Christmas. The truth of the Christmas story stands unchanged by time and its message is just as powerful today as it was that first Christmas. For those of us who walk by faith we need to come back to the wonder and beauty of the Story and remind ourselves again and again that God is still at work in human history; He is still at work in our stories.
Beyond the drama and intrigue and divine mystery of Joseph and Mary's story, the story of the angels and shepherds and magi, is the heart of the Father in sending His Son to redeem fallen man. When we trace the heart of the Father back to the very beginning of human history, we discover again this God who created all that there is and invited man to partner with Him caring for this world. We see our God continually pursuing us, even in our disobedience. He calls us back to Him and offers to us a better way of doing life -- life together with Him.
So my friends at Valley as you move through the next few days and celebrate Christmas with family and friends, I invite your to pause and reflect on the wonder of the Incarnation; the love of the Father and the beauty of Christmas story. Be encouraged; be blessed as you come back to the heart of Christmas and bask in the wonder and joy of the Christ Child. Merry Christmas!