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Open your heart to Jesus for Christmas
Brad Butler
Pastor Brad Butler, First Baptist Church, Pembroke

“’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house …”

No, I won’t retell the old story. But it is, indeed, Christmas Eve. What does Christmas Eve mean to you?

When I was growing up, Christmas Eve was a big deal in my family. My dad’s father deeply desired for his children to be at his home on Christmas Day, so we were almost always there an hour before dinner was served at noon.

Because of that, my parents made sure that my sister and I received our gifts the night before. We would always leave home around 6 p.m. to drive through the community and look at all of the lights. We would usually be gone for about an hour. By the time we got back home, gifts would have magically appeared under the tree.

It’s funny — I was surprised every time. I never caught on to the pattern until I was in my teens.

Because we often traveled from Michigan to Georgia on Christmas Day, we did the same thing for our boys most years. The difference was that we attended the Christmas Eve service at 5, then toured the neighborhood to see the lights, finally getting home around 7. The gifts had once again magically appeared.

Now that my sons are grown, my wife and I attend Christmas Eve Communion at our church at 6 and then return to a quiet home. We may drive around to see the lights, but when we come back home, we listen to music and perhaps exchange a gift or two.

Even though I have just read it publicly, we almost always read the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke 2. And we reflect on the goodness of God.

I remain awestruck at the miracle of Christmas. God became flesh and lived in our midst. Born a baby, the Lord would die the cruelest of deaths on the cross. He died for your sins and mine. What marvelous love! What amazing grace!

Have you experienced the miracle of Christmas? Open your heart to the one who offers you grace, love and salvation. You will never regret that decision.

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