Christmas Morning, December 25, 2014
It is a different Christmas this year. For the first time in a long time it is quiet, there is no noise, no cries of “get up”, “what’s to eat?”, “Santa was here!” It is a joyous day but it is different from past Christmas days.
Maybe your Christmas is very different this year too. Maybe for the first time you are alone. Perhaps God has put you in a new family or maybe added some new family members, maybe this is your first Christmas missing someone you dearly loved. Are you far from home this Christmas or are you home again? For some, being home is full of joy but not for all, home can be painful when struggle and strife dominate every day. Your Christmas tree may be piled high with gifts but perhaps there is no tree this year – it is just too hard, there is no money. Maybe you are one of those who has to be at work this Christmas, you would rather be home but for a variety of reasons you are working, you are a police officer, a fire fighter, in the military, in a hospital, etc.
Everyone has a different view of Christmas and some reject Christmas totally. I love Christmas. I love the traditional, American style Christmas I remember as a child, the Christmas I created for my own children and the Christmas I now see my children creating in their homes. I love making and eating cookies, watching corny Christmas movies, Christmas songs, Christmas decorations. I love choosing the “perfect” gift, I love watching people unwrap their gifts. I am so grateful that for me, Christmas is happy but I recognize that is not true for everyone.
Long ago in Bethlehem there was a different Christmas. Only a few realized it even was Christmas and those few were an unlikely bunch, a handful of shepherds, a young man and his young betrothed. Sheep herders, half-asleep in a field, on guard against thieves and predators; the outcasts of their day, ignorant, smelly, loners. The shepherds are filled with terror when an angel appears and makes an astounding announcement and then, a multitude of angels appears and sings praise – what must that have sounded like?! Oh yeah, that boring, ordinary night became a very different Christmas for those men. A young man, Joseph and his young betrothed, Mary – now the birth was no surprise, they had had 9 months to think about it, to be gossiped about, to wonder about the conception, to consider their future. What was different was the place, like most women, Mary probably envisioned herself giving birth in her home town, aided by a local mid-wife and other women that she had known all her life, experienced women who could help and support her during labor and after the birth. Instead they found themselves in a strange town, alone, surrounded by gaping shepherds – does it get any more different than that?
Jesus, the Sunshine from on High, was born that day – the world was now completely different, it was the first Christmas.
If you do not celebrate or recognize Christmas as a celebration of the birth of Jesus, I urge you to reconsider. The birth of Jesus fulfilled numerous Old Testament prophecies, He came to earth with a single purpose, redemption and reconciliation – the salvation of mankind. There are no words I can share that can convince you or persuade you about Jesus, read the Bible for yourself and ask God to give you understanding.
One guarantee about life it that change is constant, maybe your Christmas is the same as always (for good or bad) or maybe it is radically different. There is one, singular, unchanging constant and eternal truth about Christmas – it is ALL about Jesus and not about me or you, not about culture or tradition; it always was, always is, always will be about Jesus and one day Jesus will return and EVERYONE will know it – oh what a glorious day that will be!!!
For it is written, “As I live says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.” Romans 14:11