Christmas is here for 2022! Sure, it is only December 1 that I write these words, but December is CHRISTMAS! The decorating crew led by Larry Stephens is working right now as I type on putting up the holiday lights. Our church is done up so beautifully year after year and I love it! I wish there were a way to have it up all year…but then, it wouldn’t have the Christmas magic, would it? So, we will enjoy the lights, the music, the celebrations and hopefully, the Christ Child Himself!
In a world where Christmas seems to have more to do with sales volume and advertising the latest “Slice-O-Matic” (okay, that dates me…) or the latest “Air-Fryer” (be careful of placing these under the upper cupboard when using…they can get very hot), we still need to remember the “reason for the season”. We still need to find the baby Jesus amid the tinsel and wrappings. It would be good not to forget the birthday boy in the preparation for his party.
In the rush of activity, we need to find a minute (create a minute) to think about what all this really means. The very fact that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself…” 2 Cor. 5:19 tells us that first and foremost we were in need of being “reconciled”. God sent His Only Son to save us because there was no way for us to “save ourselves”. Paul writes in Galatians 4:4-7 “But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent Him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children. And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father”. Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are His child, God has made you, His heir.
“But at the right time…At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire…All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census”. Luke 2:1-3. Joseph along with Mary, who was excepting a child, made their way to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. They travelled from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. “And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.” Luke 2:6-7.
Bonnie and I had our first-born son on Christmas day (1985). He came to this world in a beautiful, new “birthing” center near Berrien Springs. Bonnie was an OB nurse there, so she was surrounded by co-workers and doctors she worked with and trusted. They were all thrilled that there was to be a Christmas Baby! They had prepared gifts and a Santa cap and a red stocking to put the Christmas baby in. It was joyous and happy and a celebration (no, 23 hours of labor was not fun, but he was such a handsome child). Bonnie was the only one delivering that day, so there would have been room for Mary.
But that was not Mary or Jesus path. A dark, dank stable. A cold, hard manger. He came to the poorest of the poor and the weakest of the weak, to lift everyone up to their true status, that of being a child of God. So, when we truly see through the lights and glitter to the babe born in a manger, we see ourselves as we really are. We are in need of the gift of life and that is exactly the gift that God gave in the giving of His Son.
This Christmas let us celebrate Jesus and His gift of life for each one of us.
In His Matchless Love,