The Real Joy of Christmas!


The time of year that we call ‘Christmas’ has always had a special “magic” associated with it. Times change for sure, and economies boom and fail, but Christmas never ever loses its excitement for one simple reason - unconditional love. While growing up, most children would obviously never think of Christmas in those terms, but they seem to either experience it, or they yearn to experience it. Whether there are many gifts or few around the Christmas tree, there is an underlying foundation that makes Christmas ‘itself’ greater than all the gifts, decorations, activities, or food, because what is experienced is someone’s unconditional love! In every heart there is a fundamental need for this unconditional love - a love that comes without condition or cost. This is not pitiful love, or even condescension, but a boundless and inexhaustible love that seeks only to give for another person’s benefit. It is true that this can breed selfishness (always wanting to obtain more and more from that limitless source), but as I grew older, I came to understand the reason why people loved to give, and give unconditionally at Christmas. Christmas was not a time of rewards, but of love, and that, being always unconditional. I found out that the real joy of Christmas had been born out of unconditional love for a sinner such as I, and then wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger. That love was not given because I deserved anything, but because my Saviour wanted me of all people to live with Him forever. All I had to do was, like a little child at Christmas, accept His gift at the cross, and enjoy the boundless and never-ending flow of love that only comes from God. Christmas has only been the better since I tapped into the source of all the gift-giving, and received for myself the greatest gift promised in Romans 6:23 which says, “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” So, before you get over-whelmed by all the activity at Christmas this year, take a moment and ponder why you go to such effort. I believe that you will see (if you have not already), that you do it because you want to give a type of love that is based upon the example of the very first Christmas. Any other reason would only be a poor substitute for the real joy of Christmas!

- Pastor Craig Ledbetter