Christmas 2018

Christmas 2018

 

We have entered another Christmas season. For me it is Christmas number seventy-one: Christmases experienced as a child, a teenager, a young man, a husband, a father, a grandfather. It used to seem that it would take forever for Christmas to arrive, but now Christmases speed by. They roll by in quick succession, leaving us worn out and yet already planning for the next one.

Each year we raise our banner to proclaim that Jesus is the reason for the season as society continues its efforts to make this holiday ever more commercial and ever more secular. There was a time when we didn’t have to do this; everyone knew the reason for the season. Yet, today even believers get caught up in the commercialism and the hectic observances of the season.

We have become so busy, so jaded, so skeptical that we fail to take time to ponder the meaning of this celebration, to be awed and amazed by the wonder of this miraculous event. We fail to reflect on the silent night, holy night when God took on human flesh and a human nature to become Immanuel, God with us. We have heard the story so often, we have sung the carols so many times, we have heard countless sermons and teachings, we have become so familiar with it that we take it all for granted.

How incredibly awesome it is to stand before the manger and see the Lamb of God, born in a stable; to see the eternal Creator in the flesh of a baby. There is boundless joy to see the promise of a Redeemer fulfilled before our eyes. There is also the sober realization that this manger lies beneath the shadow of a cross. This baby will become the sacrifice that takes away our sin and brings us peace with God. But there is even more boundless joy as we behold the empty tomb and shout in wonder, awe, gratitude, and love, “He is risen!”

We look at the babe in the manger, and we see our salvation. Compared to this display of God’s love, compared to this truly marvelous and wonderful event, all of the decorations, songs, gifts, and dinners lose their luster. The finite and temporal are eclipsed by the eternal. The shadows of this world vanish in the holy light of Christ. Look at the babe and be filled with a child-like wonder. Look at the babe and sing “O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!”