Matthew 7:7-8 – Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened. (NIV)
The little bells gently tinkled as I took them from their box: family heirlooms, Christmas treasures, to be cherished from one generation to the next. The faded scarlet ribbons from which they hung were mere slips of what they had once been. This year I had decided to treat the ancient bells to new necklaces of emerald green and ruby red before hanging them upon the tree. As I set about my task I lined them up, then carefully cut away the time-diseased ribbons. It was then that I noticed the tarnish. Where each ribbon had been tightly tied, there was a bright spot of sparkling silver that shamed and brought to light the sad state of the rest of the bells. I hurried away to the kitchen for silver cleaner and a cloth.
Lovingly I polished and rubbed each bell until all eight fairly danced with radiance. With quick and eager hands, I then adorned them with new ribbon and hung them in the best spots upon the tree.
Christmas is a time of memories, keepsakes and cheery goodwill. It is a time to join together with families, friends and loved ones. It is a time to look at ourselves and others who surround us. Are we tarnished and in need of self-reproach, or do we glow as the newly-shined silver bells? Is Christmas just another holiday, one more added to the year, or is it the culmination of the old year's joy?
Christ came to earth in the form of a babe long ago that first Christmas day. We do not know the exact date, but we do know that angels themselves announced His birth. Wise men travelled for approximately two years to discover His whereabouts and then to bow down and worship Him. He came that we might have life and have it abundantly, not just for a few days a year, but for eternity.
If Christmas has become tarnished for us — just the same old, same old — maybe we need to untie some of the time-worn traditions and mindsets of the past years, and search out the precious message underneath. For just as the wise men needed to diligently search for the living Christ — the true meaning of Christmas — so must we!
Prayer: Lord God, rub away from our hearts this day any and all mindsets or traditions that do not glorify You or lead us to the living Christ this Christmas season. Grant us eyes to see and a heart to embrace the true meaning and gift of Christmas this year. Amen.