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Christ must also be born in your heart

One way we mark the milestones in our lives is, as the Christmas season approaches, to think back over the events of the preceding year. Each Christmas reminds us of the changes in our lives over the last year. Christmas evokes memories of the past year: great joys, disappointments, warm friendships, heart-wrenching loneliness, exciting hellos, and aching good-byes.

Look back on 2003. No doubt for many of you, this last year was filled with significant life experiences. Children were born, started school, graduated, left for college, and got married. This past year, some parents changed jobs, some parents become grandparents, some families relocated, income was gained and lost, governments fell, wars ended or began, and loved ones died.

But what about Christmas? What are your thoughts as this holiday approaches? Are we all so consumed with the shopping and social functions that we bustle around, not thinking about the spiritual aspect of Christmas? Maybe we just think about it superficially.

Have we come so far in our commercialized materialistic world that Christmas only means half off on shoes and winter coats the week after? Do we suffer through the countdown until 75-percent-off sales? The one gift that affected all eternity is probably the last thing on some people’s minds this Christmas.

Stop and think about it. Christmas gifts don’t last. The newness of toys wears off for kids within a month after Christmas. We outgrow clothes or get tired of them after a while. New and wonderful possessions just have a way of becoming old with time. They break or wear out. Then we find ourselves thinking about new things, and more valuable and larger possessions. John D. Rockefeller was once asked how much it took to satisfy a man. He replied, “A little more than he already has.”

The world attempts to offer remedies that try to temporarily satisfy. Psychological therapy, better clothes, nicer things, newer vehicles, cruises, clout and credit cards — all these are remedies that give some comfort for awhile. For some folks this is what Christmas is really all about: trying to fill those places in our heart that yearn for a relationship with God.

We cannot fill our needs with activities and possessions of this world. Material gifts do not make for long-lasting satisfaction. More important, material possessions do not comfort us when the big issues of life plunge down upon us. It is ok to have them but things do not sustain us when life’s circumstances make living difficult.

For these reasons, Christmas is so important. Someone once reminded me that peace, joy and goodwill are not seasonal. They are life-encouraging and life-enhancing, and should be routine in our conversation, practiced all year.

When we think about the season, all our thoughts and activities should be a reflection on the scene in Bethlehem long ago.

God remembered us; God became man, Immanuel with us, so that we might know God and spend eternity with him. A wise man once said that the birth in Bethlehem means nothing if that Christ is not born in your heart today. That deserves some serious thought.

Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at:

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