When I was eight years old the one thing I wanted for Christmas was a hot wheels track. I wanted the one that had the handles that you could pull at just the right time to propel your car around the track. I circled it in the Sears catalogue and dropped hints to my mom. I think I even prayed for it, even though my family didn’t really go to church at the time.

Christmas morning came and under the tree, already set up was the hot wheels track. I was beyond excited. I ran to retrieve my hot wheels cars and gave the track its first test run. With practice, I had the cars humming around the track in perfect synchronization. It was glorious and I was elated. For about two weeks…

Then the hot wheels track got old. It wasn’t as fun anymore. So it sat in a corner of our living room until my mom asked me to pick it up so she could clean. I’m not even sure how many times I got it back out that year. It wasn’t many, and only for a few hours at a time.

This can also serve as a metaphor for how the Christmas Gospel can unfairly be treated.

We get excited to celebrate the birth of Jesus and many folks come back for the first time on Christmas Eve. Then New Year’s happens relegating Christmas to the back burner only to fade into an afterthought.

When Jesus said to “let your light shine” in Matthew 5:16, he didn’t mean for just the few days or weeks around the holidays. Jesus intended for this light to shine every day and into eternity.

The birth of Jesus isn’t like a new toy that tends to get old after only a couple of weeks. It is the greatest story ever told. God with us. Emmanuel. God broke into this world as a baby boy and that changed everything. That is why weekly worship is SO important.

Gathering as the community in our local churches is the way to connect with others to reflect to our creator how much we love Him and to allow the Holy Spirit to stoke that flame to keep it burning.

I encourage you to allow the Gospel to shine through this new year. And maybe one of your resolutions, besides eating better, could be to make visiting your church home a habit! If you do, it will be a habit you won’t want to break.

God’s peace in 2018.

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Regional Editor

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