This Year, You Can Be Christmas


John 1:14 (NLT)
14So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. 

Love Came Down at Christmas -C. Rosetti
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine,
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine,
Worship we our Jesus,
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.


  The Christmas after Hurricane Katrina brought massive destruction to parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, members of our high school youth group decided to travel there during their break to see what help they could be. We would arrive the day after Christmas.

  We were being hosted by a church in Mandeville, Louisiana. Christmas was on a Sunday that year, and as his congregants gathered that morning, Pastor Flint Shea delivered a sermon entitled “Christmas is Coming.” That seemed like an odd title, since, after all, it was Christmas day.

  The pastor talked about Jesus, about how he was sent by God out of love—a love that would take him to the cross as the sacrifice that would pay the penalty for all our sins. He talked about hope—a hope that is realized in Jesus’ power over death, a hope that we can cling to in our darkest hours. He summed up by saying that Christmas is the celebration of the human embodiment of God’s hope and love.

  Then, he said that the next day, a group of teenagers would arrive from Connecticut to work on flooded-out homes. They would offer God’s love and hope to people who were still trying to recover. He said, “Yes, today is Christmas day, but tomorrow, Christmas is coming.”

  I was tremendously humbled by that statement, and I wasn’t even there to hear it. It was relayed to me by a member of the congregation. I am deeply moved by it even after all these years.


  You don’t have to go far away or take on a huge project to embody God’s hope and love. When you stop to help the poor kid who just dropped his books down the stairway at school, you are Christmas. Anytime you offer an encouraging word or a sympathetic ear, you are Christmas. Whenever you use what you have to improve the situation of another, you are Christmas. How can you be Christmas this Christmas?

Neal is the publisher of


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