Each year since I can remember, my dad’s side of the family has gotten together at Christmas for Family Christmas Day. It started as a Christmas Eve brunch hosted by my grandmother. Now, with the growth of family through children and marriages and children again, it is a Christmas breakfast which, for our family, begins the Christmas season. It is one of my two favorite meals of the year – I love Thanksgiving too! We eat together, pray together, play THE Ornament Game together, sing carols together, and one of the heads of the family shares a Christmas devotion.
This year was Gan Gan’s turn. Gan Gan, otherwise known as Kenneth, is my great uncle. A faithful to the Lord Methodist minister in his eighties, he’s brighter and more alive than ever. His life is hid in Christ. There’s a twinkle in his eyes, tender strength in his voice, and old man gnarled hands that help to explain all that he’s saying.
He told the story of Mary hearing her assignment from the angel. He told of Joseph, a true man’s man, who, instead of disowning his betrothed, he kept her, loved her, and even helped to deliver the precious baby. He reminded us about Simeon, who waited into his old age for the Messiah to come. He recounted the story of the shepherds, lowly, sleepy men who got to see with their very own eyes a multitude of heavenly hosts. And he said – they all responded to the Good News with rejoicing. Mary, Joseph, Simeon, and the Shepherds – each one of them listened to the angels, to the Lord, held Jesus in their arms, and rejoiced exceedingly in the Lord.
This is the true act of worship. We wait for the Lord – we accept the Lord – we worship the Lord – and we respond to our GREAT SALVATION with exceeding gladness in the LORD.
Gan Gan said – we enjoy life, ourselves, each other only when we enjoy Jesus. Only when we love Jesus will we love ourselves. Only when we seek Jesus – when we find the Lord – will we know ourselves. Christ is JOY Christ is LOVE Christ is LIFE.
And then he closed letting us know that Christ, who is our all in all, demands an answer “Accept Him – or don’t.”