What are you doing with Christmas this year? There is so much to do! The other morning I woke up at 2:00 am and could not go back to sleep. My head was racing as I pondered all I had to do in the coming weeks. If you are like me, you find yourself creating a list, hard copy or mentally, and you get to work. A check mark goes beside each task as it is completed. With each check mark there is a little sigh of relief and a prayer that each and every item will be checked off by the time December 25 arrives.

As I journey through Advent to Christmas, checking off each item on my list, I am very much aware that the idea of doing something with Christmas is what keeps us from understanding what Christmas is all about. After all, Christmas is not something we do. Christmas is something done to us, for us, and in us.

Consider Mary. What did she say in response to Gabriel’s announcement that she would be the mother of God? She said, “Let it be to me according to your word.” She didn’t do anything with Christmas. Christmas was given to her. God showed her God’s favor. God gave her a baby. God dwelled inside her and became her child. We honor Mary, not for what Mary did, but for what Mary received.

That’s faith in Christ. Faith is receiving. It doesn’t do. It is done to us. Christmas is all about faith. It is all about Jesus.

Oh! We exclaim, but we’re so busy! We have so much to do. We don’t have time to get it all done. Our business leaves no room to receive. Christmas becomes our work instead of God’s work. But the whole point of Christmas is that it is God’s doing.

“With God, nothing shall be impossible,” said Gabriel to Mary. Then young Mary conceived and bore a son and called his name Immanuel, that is, God with us.

I recently saw a Christmas card which read: “This Christmas I wish you Jesus!” My prayer for each of you this Advent and Christmas season is that you embrace Christmas as something God does for us and not something we do.

May we all slow our pace this Holy season and take time to receive again the most wonderful gift ever given! This Christmas, I wish you Jesus.

Christmas blessings,
Pastor Russel