John Pearrell

Christmas is over. Up next is New Year’s Day. I hope your Christmas was a good one. For many Christmas is all about getting together with family and friends, the celebration, the gifts, and the familiar Christmas songs. If that all Christmas is, however, now that the day is over, there is that post-Christmas let-down. For others, Christmas is not a time of joy but a time of dread. Christmas reminds them of what they don’t have, and it is a time of loneliness.

May I suggest that there is a solution to our dilemma? Whether it is the dilemma of post-holiday let-down or holiday depression, there is a real and lasting solution; a solution that is not just for the holiday but can impact you New Year also. The solution can be found in remembering why we even celebrate Christmas! To get the full picture, one must read both Matthew’s Gospel the first and second chapters and Luke’s Gospel chapters one and two. I challenge you to take some time to do this between now and New Year’s Eve.

Let me give you a quick synopsis of the true meaning of this holiday we celebrate on Dec. 25. “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’” (Luke 2:8–14, NIV).

Please do not dismiss these familiar words as religious myth; a quaint but unbelievable story. Every year at Christmas time there are those who try to spin these eyewitness reports in a way that supports their own views. At the risk of sounding like I am giving a shameless plug here, I challenge you to go on our webpage, www.gatewaycommunity.org, and listen to or watch the series I did entitled “Announcing.” In that series we give you some things to consider before you assume that because the story of the birth of Christ is so incredible it can’t be credible. In this series I tried to answer some of the objections we hear about the Christmas story. If you do take the time to investigate this, you will discover that the details of Matthew and Luke’s accounts are not details that you would use if you were making any of it up!

That said, let me give you the solution to post Christmas let-down or Christmas depression. The solution is found in the message of the angels cited above. First, the message of Christmas is good news! News that when accepted brings joy. This news is for all people. It is not just for good people, it is for bad people as well. Christianity is not a white man’s religion or a black man’s religion. It is a religion for every race and ethnic background. It is a message that results in joy because it tells us of the coming of a Savior. A Savior is a person who rescues us. In this case it is One who came to rescue us from ourselves and from our sins.

Perhaps you feel that you don’t need a Savior because you are not that bad. Let me assure you, you are! (So am I). Forget about God for a minute, be honest, you can’t even keep your own standards let alone the standards of God! Many of you will make your New Year’s Resolutions on Dec. 31, 2019, and will have broken them by Jan. 31, 2020! You can’t keep your own standards. You need a Savior. The message of Christmas is freedom, hope, joy, peace, and a message of you don’t have to be afraid anymore! We give gifts at Christmas because God set the standard by giving us His Greatest Gift—His Son. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NIV). If you accept that gift, Christmas will take on a new meaning for you, and you can kiss the Christmas blues and the post-Christmas let-down goodbye.

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Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. For more information, visit www.gatewaycommunity.org or email john.pearrell@gatewaycommunity.org.

Editor

I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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