The Gift of Christmas

Gerald Casson, pastor of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church

Gerald Casson, pastor of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church

Hang with me for a minute, and eventually, I will get Christmas. Jimmy Buffett has a song (one of his less famous) called “Changing Channels.” In it, you will hear the lyrics, “There’s an island in the ocean, where the people stay in motion, somewhere on the old gulf stream, do they live or did I dream? Survivors of tidal waves, children of former slaves, strange how they all behave like it’s another world.”

At Christmas, we remember an amazing story, a good story, a powerful story. But sometimes, I think that we have trouble making the connection between what happened in Bethlehem and our life today. Back to Jimmy Buffet’s words – I believe that when we understand the Christmas message fully and connect it to our lives every day, it changes the way we see and experience everything. We live in the same world, but it is transformed – as if “it’s another world.”

These are hard times. They always have been. There is a lot of darkness and brokenness. This world often seems separated from God, even God-forsaken and empty. I believe the majority of people live that way. But if we live as Christmas people, people who know God is active in the world, we are living in a different world. A world that is “God-full” rather than “God-empty.”

Two thousand years ago on the other side of the world, in an ordinary time and in an ordinary place, the extraordinary happened. God entered in. God was born into the world as a humble, Jewish baby. Jesus was born. And the angel said, “He shall be named Jesus (which means God saves) because he will save the people from their sin.”

Sin is separation from God and His loving ways. Separation from the life God made us to live – a life of generosity, love, justice, and forgiveness. That is the separation that has devastated the world and continues to devastate lives today. The world was broken then; the world is broken now. There was much darkness then; there is much darkness now. But we are not alone. God is working in the midst of it.

This is the invitation and the gift of Christmas. We are invited to live in this world with the understanding that it is a God-full world. God loved us so much that he became flesh and God is still willing to live with us today. We are invited to respond to God’s presence and to be a part of the healing, which Christ is bringing.

I hope you will find a Christmas Eve service this year and receive the True Gift of Christmas.

Merry Christmas,

Pastor Gerald Casson
Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church


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