Friday, December 24, 2010

White as Snow~ A Spiritual Article by Abby Massung

Christmas is probably one of our absolute favorite times of the year –and I am certainly no exception! I love spending time with family and friends and watching with anticipation as they open up the gifts that I put so much thought into selecting for them. Who doesn’t love all-you-can-eat cookies and goodies for a month (which I’ll inevitably spend the following month obsessing over how they increased my waistline FYI). On top of all that, there’s just something about the atmosphere at Christmas time that brightens up my entire outlook on life and the world around me.

  Christmas-time this year means some different things for me however. This year, Christmas-time includes tons of holiday shoppers to assist at my new job and lots of gift receipts to remember to print out. I must do all of this while smiling and wondering if I should say “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” as I bid my customers good-bye. Certainly, it is a much more busy time of my life than it has been in the past.

  As I sit here, considering how to capture the actual meaning of Christmas, I think back to a couple years ago. Back to a time when I had one of my many random insightful moments while I stared out a window at the beautiful, white landscape of rural Michigan.

  As I’d been sitting there, I’d thought about how the snow that we receive, during the time we celebrate Christ’s birth, symbolized a very special significance of the occasion (my apologies to those of you who don’t actually get any snow for Christmas). You see,  just the night before, we’d had a huge snowstorm (which is really a daily occurrence here in MI). Absolutely everything was coated in a heavy layer of thick, white snow. The sight just made me really stop and think about the real meaning of Christmas and how it affects my life personally.

Salvation and Snow…
  Before the snow came, you noticed all the dirt and mess of our world. You could see the dead brown grass in everyone’s yards, and could easily pick out those of your neighbors who had and hadn’t taken the time to rake up their leaves that year. Then, with one big snowstorm in the middle of the night, God covered over everything, making it all appear so perfectly pure and clean. Overnight, my world had been turned into a beautiful piece of artwork.

  This made me consider Christ’s birth on earth, and why He’d come to us. Just as God sent the snow to hide the blemishes of the world and to cover for those who hadn’t taken care of their leaves, so did He send Christ in order to hide our blemishes and cover for those who hadn’t done all they were supposed to. Through Jesus, our blemishes, scars, and mistakes are covered up. That was His sole purpose for coming to us. That is why we celebrate Christmas. It is the day that God sent His Son to fulfill His promise of salvation for His creation.

 After the snow finally stops coming, another miracle takes place. Suddenly, life seems to have been brought back to everything. The flowers, once again, begin to bloom and the grass regains its former green glory. Just like that, God uses Jesus to cover up our sins over and over. Later on, in God’s timing, He is going to make us completely new and beautiful, returning us to what He’d intended us to be all long before Adam and Eve’s, and thus our, fall into sin.

  Isn’t it a beautiful thought then? Realizing that God chose to give us this symbol of the work He is doing in the lives of each of us every day? How He demonstrates to us how He comes along and turns our messes into something so stunningly beautiful and bright that it’s sometimes hard to look at?

Capturing the Meaning…
  You can never fully capture the meaning of Christmas because it’s more than just some definition that you can recite. Christmas is an amazing feeling that steals over your heart and soul as you allow yourself to be drawn in closer to God.

  This year, as you plan out gifts and anticipate the reactions you’ll receive from your friends and family, think about God’s most precious gift to you. He planned for and anticipated giving you His gift for thousands of years.

 Really, we don’t know just how long He was thinking about it. After all, since He already knows everything before it happens, He could have been looking forward to sending Christ to save us since long before Adam and Eve even existed. Just try to wrap your head around that!  

  If you get excited over something as small as giving your brother his favorite, newly-released DVD, think about how excited God had to be about offering us such an enormous gift! Just as you’ll enjoy seeing your brother’s gratefulness and joy over the gift you’ll give him, God would enjoy it if you showed Him just how grateful and excited you are over His gift to you. Take time this Christmas to read the Christmas story (Luke 2:1-20; you also might like to read about the times leading up to the birth of Christ as well), and truly offer God a heartfelt offering of thanks for the ultimate Christmas gift He gifted us, setting off our tradition of giving gifts. Also, considered following the examples of re-gifting that the apostles and saints of old demonstrate in the New Testament by sharing God’s gift with others around you!

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