Wishing you all a blessed New Year,

St. Pauls East Canton

       Have you been greeted with this question recently? I have. How did you answer it? Or even more importantly, how do you even evaluate it? What makes it good? Did you get what you wanted? Did people like what you got them? While these things are nice, there must be a better way to evaluate Christmas.
         Did you get to see the people that matter to you? Now that’s getting closer to what really counts – relationships. Typically, enjoying good relationships makes the Christmas holiday meaningful. But I want to take it a step further. What about the most important relationship in our lives – our relationship with Jesus. With all of the holiday activities it is easy to forget that our relationship with Jesus is even a relationship at all. But it is. God wanted a relationship with us so much that He sent Jesus to live among us and to restore the relationship that sin had destroyed. So maybe a good way to answer the question is, “How has my relationship with Jesus become better this year?” Did I enjoy him this Christmas? Did I fall in love with him more or in new ways? Did I find out more about what He is really like? Do I know him more and trust him more?
       These are just a few of the questions we can ask to reflect on the relational aspect of our Christmas experience. Christmas can also be difficult for other reasons. We can look at the ideal way that Christmas is “supposed” to look and feel that we’ve really missed out or messed up. It can magnify some of the trials that we have. It especially accentuates the empty seats around the table and the empty and aching place in our heart that feels the loss of loved ones. But even here our relationship with Jesus shines through. He is near to the broken hearted and his comfort is real. He understands the pain of loneliness and He knows what suffering feels like. In fact, we may experience his love even more because we need it so much more.
       Jesus was born on that first Christmas because He wanted a relationship with humanity. He wants to be close to us and I believe our happiness is found most in being close to him. So when we look at our Christmas I think it is good to ask, “Have I in some way become closer to Jesus during this Christmas season?” That can be meaningful. And even if the answer is “not really,” it’s never too late. So let me ask you, “How was your Christmas?” I hope it was truly the best.
                              Pastor Ed
                        How was your Christmas?
St. Paul's East Canton
St. Paul's East Canton
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