by Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal
A few years ago I found myself one week away from Christmas, in a bit of a panic. I realized that in the business of the season I had forgotten the Christmas cards for our East Coast relatives. To stay connected to these far away loved ones, each year I create a special Christmas photo card, add school pictures, and a personalized Christmas greeting. To quickly rectify this oversight, my husband ran to the store and purchased cards, addressed each envelope, and created an assembly line for all of us to sign each store-bought greeting. All I needed to do was to sign the cards, place them in their envelopes, and drop them in the mail.
Amongst a whirlwind of activity, I managed to post the cards and move on to the next task. I figured some would be disappointed, but what I wasn’t expecting were the rumors and questions that arose amongst the family regarding the state of my marriage. Apparently, they jumped to some understandable conclusions. Not only did they receive a generic card with no photos, they were only signed by my husband and children, I had forgotten. Instead of a lovely Christmas message, they received a message of confusion.
The joy of remembrance is at the heart of Christmas, and we have been given a precious span of time each year to renew, celebrate and share the hope we have found in Jesus. There are many who are standing on the outside of Christmas, viewing and wondering, waiting for someone to welcome them in, or simply remember them. They need to know what Ann Voskamp shares in her book “The Greatest Gift”, that “Christmas cannot be bought, it can only be found.” It is not stored away with the ornaments, it is stored in our hearts, and during the Christmas season, above all else, we must remember to prepare our hearts and lives to share the good news.
Like Mary, we must ponder in our hearts the things of God “for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (Luke 1:49). Like Joseph, we must trust God’s plan for our future. Like the Shepherds, we must break from our daily lives to “spread the word concerning what had been told about this child.” (Luke 2:17). Like the Wise Men, we must seek Christ, worshiping and offering our own unique gifts to honor Him. Like the Angels, we must proclaim “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14). Everything we need to truly celebrate Christmas is wrapped up in the beautiful gift of the Christmas story.
As I learned that year, forgetting to properly prepare my heart and life for Christmas had consequences. Although I was easily able to explain my way out of that awkward situation, I missed the opportunity to share the greatest gift of Christmas, even if it was simply tucked away in a greeting. Instead of prioritizing schedules and lists I now prioritize the Christmas story, allowing it to draw me even closer in my relationship with Christ, and inspire me to remember those who desperately need the gift of Christmas.
– Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal