Moving Beyond Christmas

Moving Beyond Christmas

Christmas Day has now come and gone, but Christmas is only the beginning. 2022 is quickly winding down. This is a great week to reflect and set some goals

I want to thank everybody who has supported Woodmont this past year! Your generosity and and presence makes our mission and ministries possible.

Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger because there was no room for him in the inn. But I would argue that for many today, there is still no room for Jesus. We’re too busy. We’re too stressed. We’re too affluent. We’re too damaged by organized religion. We’re too distracted to let God break into our lives. The real meaning of Christmas is a gift that money can’t buy and Amazon can’t deliver it. It’s the gift of inner peace and joy deep within our soul that only Christ can bring.

Peace is something that we all struggle with, but it’s something that we all yearn to experience. I quoted a well-known Chinese proverb during Advent which says that, “If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.”

Some will say, “You can talk about peace in your big beautiful church and sing about it all day long, but in the real world, you better hire an attorney; in the real world, you better build a nuclear weapon; in the real world, you better keep a gun in your car and at your house to take care of your family because that’s the way it is!”

And you know what? There is a sense in which this type of cynicism affects all of us and we often believe it to be true. Sometimes it seems as though it doesn’t matter whether we desire peace, or pray for peace, or want peace – there is no guarantee for peace in this world. It feels hostile, violent, and angry. But we are called to hold on to the peace of Christmas. This week is a great time to reflect and make plans for the new year.

As 2022 quickly draws to a close, we must all remember that peace must be more than a human ideal. Peace must be more than just a social goal or protest. Peace must be more than just a psychological state of being. It must be more than just wishful thinking by Christians. It must become a reality in the way we live our lives. New Testament scholar William Barclay says this: “Here is the amazingly new concept – that God could and would become a human being. That God could enter into the life that we live. That eternity could appear in time. That somehow the Creator could appear in Creation in such a way that human eyes could actually see him.”

The miracle of Christmas is that God came down to earth to dwell among us. Through Christ, the divine became human. The eternal appeared in time. The Creator became a part of Creation. Or, as John so beautifully writes in the fourth Gospel, “The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and full of truth.” As we look ahead to 2023, may your light continue to shine in the darkness, and may the darkness, whatever it may be, still not overcome it.

Happy New Year to you and your family!