Christmas Is Upon Us!

Christmas Is Upon Us!

There were warnings all morning. A major blizzard was forecast to hit our city, Fort Wayne, Indiana. My boss was sending everyone home early to stay ahead of the storm. It was January 1978, years before the blessing of cell phones. I finally reached my husband at the seminary after several panicky calls. When I picked him up, we had just enough time to make a grocery run and then hunker down in our sixty-foot mobile home to ride out the next several days of wind and snow. The blizzard was upon us!

 

When something is upon us” it can be an ominous threat. Or it can be just an important or pressing occasion. A retail advertisement I read one year boldly proclaimed: The Christmas holiday season is upon us!”

 

I dont know what emotion or response that was meant to create. Fear? Anxiety? Excitement? Worry? Frenzy? Bracing for an unexpected uncertainty? After all Christmas doesn’t sneak up on us. Its not like Easter that moves around and can even land in different months. It’s the very same day of the same month EVERY year! We cant use the excuse I didn’t know it was coming!”

 

The uncertainties of Christmas 2021 are fewer this year, but they are still with us. It really doesn’t matter which side of the desk” were on. Whether we are an employer or an employee, a leader or member of a church or organization, a parent or a family member, many of us are feeling the upon us” of Christmas once again.

 

Everyones personal situation is different. We aren’t all in the same boat. Some families have been with each other ongoing, sometimes wishing for a break from so much togetherness. Other families are still separated with no hope of coming together for Christmas. Some people are isolated, and that feeling of loneliness can be even greater this time of year. As we are told to proceed with caution, many of us are concerned how we should celebrate Christmas. 

 

Our mood as leaders in our company, our church, our organization, or our family matters a great deal. It conveys an emotion, positive or negative, that can spread to others just as quickly as any virus. That’s why it’s important to remember there is another meaning, another definition to consider. When something is upon us” it can also mean its time to take action.

 

And it is time to take action!

 

First of all, we need to focus on taking care of each other. Take an interest in how upon us” is treating each one of us. Whether it is an employee, a boss, a student, a coworker, or even a family member who is reluctant to admit the weight they are feeling, it is up to us to take the lead and lend an ear. At the same time, we need to be vulnerable enough to share our own feelings, the sharing that demonstrates understanding and empathy.

But there is still the question of celebrating Christmas. In the light of everything else that is pressing this year, the pressure of how to celebrate Christmas shouldn’t weigh on us.

 

No matter what our situation, we can make this Christmas an intentional celebration like no other. When monetary expressions aren't an option, there are other gifts to give: kindness and compassion… honor and respect … love and joy. Even though those are things we should always share, we will need to be especially creative in giving those gifts this year.

 

We will also need to be more intentional with the inclusion of our Savior in this years celebration. There is a newfound freedom to enjoy and focus on the delights of the season. But our Lord Jesus always reminds us that He is more interested in those things that money can never buy… our love and devotion.

 

That’s why a third definition is so appropriate for Christmas. “Upon us” can also mean completely or approximately in contact with us.”

 

Our Lord Jesus is upon us. Thats His promise! We have only one thing to decide. Will it be just an approximate contact or a complete connection? After all, He is ready to be upon us” completely, to remind us that our relationship with Him is the most pressing and important part of this season.

 

So relish this occasion, this holiday, this celebration, this relationship with Our Savior with joy!

 

The Christ Child is upon us!

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Christine Vogelsang

Christine Vogelsang is a teacher, musician, pastor’s wife, and mother of three adult children. For almost forty years her family enjoyed the love of congregations in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Southern California. She has earned her master’s degree in education, taught at various schools (from kindergarten to college) and served as music director for twenty-five years at their last church.

While writing and speaking about the joy of being God’s child has always been a part of her life, it wasn’t until her weekly inspirational blogs (restoringthejoy.net) gained an international following that Christine decided to publish her first book. She has also written and produced three plays about people and events in the Gospels that bring these ancient stories to life.

Christine and her husband have retired from full time church work; however, her blog ministry continues to grow. She recently completed her Restoring the Joy: Leaving My Guilt at the Cross book series (available through Amazon) and is scheduling more speaking engagements that highlight her spiritual passion: joy without guilt!

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