By Gary L. Kendall
Christmastime always brings a mixture of emotions for me. I love to celebrate the Lord’s birth and it is a thrill to see so many catch God’s spirit of giving. People seem to smile more, laugh more easily, and enjoy life more in general during this season. But life always takes on a hectic side, too, with packed parking lots, people standing impatiently in checkout lines, and advertisers rudely taking advantage of our generosity. Unfortunately, this frantic flurry often overshadows that little town of Bethlehem lying so still and peaceful, nestled back in the hills.
This rushing about seems so far removed from the starry night in Judea when God’s Son became a living human like you and me. But in reality, Jesus came into a world just like ours, a world that was too busy for him. The first Christmastime must have been every bit as hectic and crowded as ours has become. For it was census time and everyone in David’s line had to be at Bethlehem. It was a time for reunions, parties, and of course a trip to the marketplace.
Physical, political, and spiritual unrest was at every hand. The commotion in the world accurately symbolized the immense turmoil raging within persons’ souls. All this confusion and yet how appropriate a time for a child to be born who was heralded as the Prince of Peace. He came to deliver people from the source of that driving inner conflict, and he has brought peace and satisfaction to all who have put their trust in him.
But how strange—a world too busy to realize their answer had come. And stranger still that two thousand years later, the world has not yet made time. How long must we go on hurrying, spinning along our course, unaware that what we so desperately seek has long been available? If only we would have slowed down and taken notice. Still, it’s not too late. Why not this year ask for the peace you are unable to capture on your own? Why not stop and take time to think about him—Son of God, Savior, Prince of Peace? He can change turmoil into triumph, commotion into comfort, and hurry into hope. Take the time this Christmas season to discover him in his fullness and find peace amid the rush.
Gary Kendall is the founding pastor of Indian Creek Community Church, a thriving Church of God congregation he led for thirty-two years in Olathe, Kansas. He currently serves as the catalyst for Love KC, a ministry to equip people in the Kansas City area to live on mission every day where they live, study, work, and play.
This article was originally published in the December 21, 1980, issue of Vital Christianity. Republished by permission. Across the United States and around the world, God is on the move in the Church of God. Join the movement. Give life! Donate today at give.jesusisthesubject.org.