Merry Christmas! Hopefully you are enjoying some precious time with your closest family and reaping all the blessings that this special day brings.
I also hope you take the time today to really meditate on what we are really celebrating. Take a look at the key verses in Luke 2:
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.***
When you take the time to reflect on the story, we see several key things. First of all, Jesus was certainly NOT about commercialism on this first Christmas. He was born in a manger. Do you know what a manger is? It’s a trough for horses or cattle to eat from. Jesus, who spoke the entire universe into existence, came down from heaven’s throne room as our “Emmanuel” (God with Us) to be born in a trough. Nothing flashy or “keeping up with the Joneses” here, right? The king of kings was a model of humility from the start.
Second, we see the heavenly HOST praising God. This isn’t one or two or 10 angels praising God. This is an entire ARMY of angels praising God. No wonder the shepherds were afraid. This teaches us that we should ALL be praising God for this the greatest gift ever given, the chosen Messiah, who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus is the centerpiece of God’s perfect plan for all of mankind. I’d say that calls for a multitude of the heavenly host praising God.
Then, we see the shepherds sharing the “good news of great joy”. Imagine having a front row seat to the most incredible, most significant event in human history. How could you NOT tell everyone you know? In this case, like in every other, “sharing is caring”. And they had to come back to “get their praise on”. Again, how could you not?
Finally, look at Mary who “treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart”. She was such a great example of faithful service to the Lord. How many of us would give our OK to have our entire lives turned upside down the way Mary did. What a sweet, sweet servant of God she was.
So, just like these key figures, we too should respond to the Christmas story by:
1/Praising and thanking God!
2/Sharing the “good news of great joy”!
3/Ponder the wonder of it all!
Once you’ve done all that, no amount of gifts under the tree could even hope to compare.