A Christmas Story that Never Ends

Christmas is over. Empty wrapping paper needs to be thrown away. Presents need to be put away. The lights on the houses will soon come down, and decorations will be packed up. The sparkle and color of the holiday season will fade to winter greys. For some, this may be a time to finally relax after all the stress and busyness of the holiday. But most of us will miss the lights and the parties and presents beneath the tree.

Even Christians can lose the joy and hope that are center stage at Christmas as we enter a new year. But we shouldn’t. For Christians, Christmas should be a constant presence in our lives, a constant reminder that God is With Us.

The celebration of Christmas as a remembrance of the birth of Jesus didn’t begin until centuries after the that birth and the beginning of the Christian church. It wasn’t until the fourth century that the Catholic Church sanctioned a Nativity Mass on December 25. This religious observance grew over time into a popular holiday, and it eventually became known as Christ’s Mass – or Christmas.

The Christ in Christmas is obvious. Jesus is the Christ, which means Messiah or Savior. The Jesus we celebrate at Christmas is the Savior of all people of the world who come to him in faith.

The Mass is a Catholic tradition commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus on the earth, a tradition also known as Eucharist. During that supper, Jesus broke bread and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Then he took a cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25, NIV) Celebrating Mass, also known as Communion or the Lord’s Supper, is an important thing for Christians to this day.

Although not all Christians celebrate Mass, the word has great meaning for us. It appears at the end of the Eucharist service and means to dismiss or send out. Having shared the bread and drink that represent the body and blood of Jesus (literally according to Catholics, figuratively according to Protestants), the people are dismissed and sent out to actually be the body of Christ in the world, the hands and feet of Jesus, doing his work, through his power, until his return.

Paul writes, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (I Corinthians 12:27). This is why Christmas is not a one-day holiday for Christians or a season of the year. Christmas is the very life of believers. Jesus, who was called Emmanuel – “God with us” – came to earth as a baby so we could be with God every day of every year of our lives. And every day of every year of the rest of our lives we are sent out to be Jesus in the world.

If you are a believer and follower of Jesus, your Christmas never ends. You are a living celebration of Jesus coming to earth. His life and message, his love and hope, continue in you. So, shine like a star for all the world to see and keep the joy of Christmas in your heart all year long.

Tags: christmas, christian, hope, mass, year long, wrapping paper

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