My First Christmas

When I was a child, Christmas seemed wonderful, exciting! The holiday season was filled with family and friends, goodies to eat, songs to sing, presents to give and receive, and so on. But with adulthood came a void. An elusive something was missing. I didn’t realize the something was a Someone.

The amazing thing is that Jesus was there all the time. But I didn’t know Him. I knew His name. I had a Bible in my house. Church had been a part of my life. I thought I was a Christian. In the fullness of time Jesus had arrived, but I simply hadn’t moved from a religion to a relationship. Then it finally happened. And a month shy of age 40, I had my first real Christmas!

I’ll never forget my first Christmas as a Christian. All I could think of was, what love! What a plan God had conceived in His heart, to bring reconciliation to all who would accept this indescribable gift… and that included me. Jesus… born to die for me! Listening to Christmas music took on a whole new meaning. Attending the Christmas Eve service at my church that year was incredibly joyous and meaningful!  What a time of celebration through song, testimony and message.  Most songs I had heard since a child, but now I really heard!  The testimony brought tears.  Now I had a testimony!  Parts of the message I had heard before, but now I really understood!  Yes, what a blessed first Christmas!

I often think of my “first Christmas”. Just a few years ago, at my church Christmas Dinner, Carolyn Arends shared many of her Christmas songs. When she sang her song, My First Christmas, this verse described the reality of my first Christmas:

“First time that I can really sing
Glory, hallelujah to the baby king
And a holy night is what this is
“Cause this is my first Christmas
This is my first Christmas.”

And sing I did. I’ll never forget the blessing of my first Christmas!

Lord willing, I will attend the Christmas Eve service at my church tonight. I’m looking forward to remembering the One who filled the void in my life almost 25 years ago! Yes, the prophecy God gave through Isaiah, came true almost 2000 years ago. “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” (Isa. 7:14)

Immanuel, “God with us”, is exactly what Christmas is all about: letting Jesus fill that God-shaped void inside. The joy of Christmas is knowing that if you’ve received the gift of His Son… truly received Him as your Savior and Lord…. you’ll never be alone. It’s knowing Jesus will never leave you, never forsake you (Hebrew 13:5)!

And Christmas is also a time of hope, knowing that sometime in our future, we will have an awesome first Christmas in heaven with Jesus, and this will be the scene another verse of Carolyn’s song describes:

“First time to hear the angels sing
Glory, hallelujah to the the risen king
And a holy night is what this is
‘Cause this is my first Christmas
This is my first Christmas.”

It’s my prayer that you will experience the joy of your first Christmas again this year! And yes, He is the reason for the season! If your Christmas season seems empty, could it be that you’ve missed the Someone of Christmas? Have you moved from religion to a relationship? Perhaps it’s time to consider what you have done with Jesus, so that we all can sing together, “glory, hallelujah to the baby king”… and soon, sing with the angels and all who have gone before us “glory, hallelujah to the risen king!”  Merry Christmas!