Back in the purer days of television, probably the 1960's, a beautifully gowned actress named Loretta Young came sweeping upon the screen every Sunday night announcing her show in which she played a very different character each week. One I will never forget was one of a Japanese servant girl working for an American family living in her country.

The plot centered on this homesick family's very evident disappointment at not being able to celebrate Christmas back home with the rest of their family and friends. After hearing just so much complaining, the little Japanese maid said to the mother, "You all so unhappy because you cannot celebrate Christmas in America," then she added in her humble servant manner, "but I think you celebrate Christmas in the heart, yes?"

As many celebrate the birth of Christ this time of year, we are reminded that he himself warned the people of his time not to expect him to set up a visible worldly kingdom. He insisted that the Kingdom of God would be established in the hearts of people.

When we get to heaven and rejoice at being united with family and friends of faith, what would it be like if we don't know them by their familiar appearance or voice, but by the content of their heart?

"O, yes, I know you," we might say, "you are the one who had a heart for the poor." Or to another we might say, "I know you, you had a heart for the sick." Or to one who had a heart for the lonely, or for the children, or the elderly, or the homeless, or a heart to serve those not noticed by others ....

Perhaps this season in the midst of all the lights, trees, music, gifts, games, and food, we can say an emphatic "Yes!" to the Japanese servant girl's question. "Yes, we will be celebrating Christmas and the New Year in our hearts for that is where the Christ of Christmas really is and what the basis of anything truly new is all about."

May Jesus be in every aspect of your celebration this holiday season, for He alone is the light, the song, and the gift we most need. Only He didn't give this gift under a Christmas tree, but instead gave it on the cruel tree of Calvary. And He did so to make every day of the New Year a joyful, Jesus-filled celebration from our hearts.

You are the one who had a heart for ...

[Jesus said] "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'" (Matthew 25:37-40 NKJV)