By Dr. Bascom Ratliff
Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana United Methodist Churches
Christmas has always been an important time for our family. It is a time to gather, to remember the birth of Christ, and celebrate our relationships with family. Getting together to worship and celebrate the birth of Christ continues to be a wonderful event. Singing silent night, celebrating communion, and exchanging gifts have become great holiday traditions in our family and in our church.
This past Christmas I was reminded of the importance of gathering to celebrate Jesus and family. I am reminded of the seven important lessons that come from celebrating Christmas.
1. Humility is good. Although he was the son of God, Jesus had a humble birth. He was born in a manger. Animals witnessed birth. There was no TV coverage. There were no extravagant celebrations or fanfare welcoming him as the Savior of the world. It is a reminder for us that we all come into this world naked and incredibly dependent.
2. Jesus's parents were poor. They had very little worldly possessions. They were not pretentious. They were unable to celebrate the birth of their son with expensive gifts and wide media coverage. They considered themselves fortunate that they were able to have a room in the stable for the birth of their son.
3. Giving gifts is okay and appreciated. The three wise men traveled a great distance to celebrate the birth of Christ. They gave him gifts. They recognized him as a king. I believe that when we give gifts to others during Christmas, it is an opportunity to continue the tradition established by those who gave Christ birthday presents.
4. Celebrations are good. Certainly, the shepherds and the wise men paid homage to Christ and celebrated his birth. When we gather with our families to celebrate Christmas,
we remember the tradition established by those who came to celebrate the birth of our newborn King.
5. Remembering and honoring Christ at Christmas is essential. It is an opportunity for us to recognize the great love that God has for us and shows us by sending his son as our personal savior. It is an opportunity for us to remember the remarkable gift that God has given us and continues to give us.
6. Jesus entered the world like the rest of us. I suspect that his mother, Mary, had the same birthing pains and stresses that other mothers experience. Although he was the son of God, Jesus entered the world as a helpless and dependent infant. Neither he nor his parents received any special treatment from God.
7. Jesus invites us to be a member of God's family. He came as our Savior. He came as our brother. He came as our family. Because of his human birth, he demonstrated to us his humanity and humility. He did not receive any special treatment or perks for being the son of God. His message was clear. He loves us and invites us to a relationship with him. This Christmas we recognize Jesus as our special gift from God as we celebrate his birth enthusiastically and passionately. Amen
If you want to hear more about God’s wonderful promise of unfailing love and enjoy a great morning of music and worship, please come and worship with us.
• We will worship at the Parker UMC during January 2023.
• We will worship at the Beagle UMC during February 2023.
• We will worship at the Fontana UMC during March 2023.
All services begin at 10 a.m.
We offer communion on the first Sunday of each month.
We’ll be sure to give you a warm welcome, a hot cup of coffee, and the best seats in the house. Contact me at 913-710-5748 for more information.