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Even during this uniquely challenging season of life, Christmas is still the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s all because of what we celebrate: the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God.

This past Sunday night, we had our annual “Christmas at First” musical celebration. It was different than in years past, but it was still wonderful. God has blessed our church family with so much musical talent, and, as your pastor, it thrills my soul to see our church family put that talent to use for the glory of God.

My own children sang a song called “Happy Birthday Jesus”:

Happy birthday, Jesus

I’m so glad it’s Christmas

All the tinsel and lights

And the presents are nice

But the real gift is you

Happy birthday, Jesus

I’m so glad it’s Christmas

All the carols and bells

Make the holiday swell

And it’s all about you!

One of the reasons I love this song is that it beckons me not to bifurcate my own

Christmas celebrations into sacred and secular. In some ways, it reminds me of Merle Haggard’s playful little song from 1973,“Santa Claus and Popcorn”:

Santa Claus and popcorn Jingle bells and reindeer horns Christmas trees and mistletoe Jesus loves me this I know.

Carolers singing Silent Night

Crosby dreams of Christmas white

We celebrate ‘cause the King was born

With Santa Claus and popcorn.

So, the tinsel, lights, carols, bells, reindeer, Christmas trees, mistletoe, Chex mix, sausage balls, time with family, and all the other things about Christmas. For me, rather than take away from the true meaning of Christmas, all these things serve to remind me what a big deal Christmas really is! We can enjoy all of these things unashamedly, provided we remember WHY we’re doing all of it...

We’re celebrating the birth of Jesus!

Christmas will, undoubtedly, be a very different experience this year for most of us, but one thing remains the same: because of what we celebrate, this is still the most wonderful time of the year.

I love you all,

Pastor Drew

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