It’s hard to believe that Christmas is here once more. The year’s flown by, hasn’t it? And we’ve again arrived at the time of year that many identify as their favorite season.
My Mom used to say that she loved these last months of the year because they were filled with family. Maybe that’s true for you, too. Others might say it’s because they can watch Hallmark Christmas movies round the clock. My brother and his family love this time of year because they’re all skiiers, and can take to the slopes out west as they gather together after months apart.
Plenty of folks would say that they love the baking and the special treats that only are made at this time of year, while still others can’t get enough of the gift purchasing and giving. I have a friend who always says that they love watching the wonder on kiddos’ faces as they experience surprise after surprise.
There are those who are grateful as this is the time of year to give thanks to God for Christ’s birth. They love the carols and the pageants and the beautiful decorations that remind everyone of the events that occurred at Bethlehem that first Christmas. Hearing the familiar story of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, shepherds, angels and wisemen never grows old for them. There’s something special about God coming to his children in a way that’s accessible for all. Because Jesus was a baby, and many of us are parents, we understand what having an infant in the family means. There are ordinary, everyday challenges and joys that accompany a little one’s arrival. There’s plenty of crying and teething and wet diapers, but there’s cuteness, and cuddles and discoveries and joy that also comes with a new baby around.
That’s why, at Christmas, it’s not new territory for us to see a new mother and father, cradling their newborn. It’s an precious sight to behold. Yet, at Bethlehem, Jesus’ birth was anything but familiar territory. It was a history-changing moment. Yes, a baby was born, but he was Christ, the Lord, but standing watch over that moment, and all of the events of Bethlehem, was our eternal God. Our God whose love put our salvation into motion, in this most amazing of ways.
Author Ann Voskamp explains the wonder and meaning of God’s gift of his son when she writes of the first Christmas, “So God throws open the door of this world—and enters as a baby. As the most vulnerable imaginable. Because He wants unimaginable intimacy with you. What religion ever had a god that wanted such intimacy with us that He came with such vulnerability to us? What God ever came so tender we could touch Him? So fragile that we could break Him? So vulnerable that His bare, beating heart could be hurt? Only the One who loves you to death.”
This Love that came down at Christmas—this Love that seeks to live in relationship with us—may it always be our most treasured aspect of all the things that make this season so special. May the Love that became God With Us, always be our most treasured gift. May the joy and delight of this Love, always fill our days and spill over into the lives of brothers and sisters near and far, so they might come to rejoice and worship the baby too.
May a blessed Advent and Merry Christmas be yours,