I grew up in a non-church family. The only times we went to church were on Christmas or Easter when my mother would take us to Mass. I felt church was just a series of religious rituals we had to endure before we got to the more exciting events of these holidays, like gifts and dinners. I could not understand why we celebrated the birth and death of a man called Jesus, nor why people called him the Son of God.
It was not until I was in college that I started to realize that there was something missing in my life. There was an emptiness that I could not explain and did not know how to fill. Through God’s providence, He showed me that He truly is God and that He came and died for me. 1 John 4:9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
Today, I do not see church as a series of religious rituals, but as a place where God’s beloved come together to learn more about Jesus and worship Him in fellowship. That sense of emptiness that I once had is filled with His presence and work in my life.
Now Christmas and Easter are the holidays that I look forward to the most. They are the times when Jesus’ name is heard everywhere you go in the music that fills the air. These are the times when my prayers increase for those who are lost that they will come to realize who Jesus is and that they will see their need of His forgiveness of their sins.
Oh, how wonderful it is to know the joy of God’s forgiveness and love! These are gifts only God can give.
May God richly bless you this Christmas.