A cross forms the backdrop for my nativity scene downstairs. There’s a reason for that. I don’t know about you, but I need a visual reminder—not just once, but many times during the holiday season—for the real reason we celebrate.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. I love how the season starts with “thanks giving” on Thanksgiving. I love the opportunity to get together with family members who live too far away. I love the familiar Christmas songs . . . the lights . . . the baking . . . the fact that everyone seems just a little kinder, a little more giving at this particular time of the year. I love the excitement on the faces of children anticipating Christmas day. I love all the warm fuzzies this holiday brings.
But I also know how easily I can get caught up in the stress of the season and start to panic over a to-do list the length of the Mississippi. I think we women especially can get entangled in our desire to create a Pinterest-perfect Christmas and, in the process, forget all about celebrating. When was the last time you stopped to truly CELEBRATE Christmas? Because as wonderful as all the trappings of Christmas can be—the decorations, the food, the moments with family— they are not the reason we celebrate.
We celebrate for the same reason the angels and the shepherds celebrated that first Christmas night. We celebrate with the same sense of awe Mary and Joseph must have felt when they held their baby for the first time and pronounced his name—Jesus. We celebrate with the same joyful expectation that Simeon and Anna expressed when they gazed into the face of their long-awaited Messiah.
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a SAVIOR . . .” Luke 2:11
Our Savior was born.
Two thousand years into this age of grace, the significance of that simple statement often escapes us. But travel with me for a second back to the garden, back to that moment when Adam and Eve first began to realize the full consequences of what they have done. They made a decision to listen to the Tempter. They chose to be their own gods, and in that moment EVERYTHING changed. There was no do-over, no going back. They had lost Paradise. Their perfect world lay in ruins around them and there was NOTHING they could do about it.
The ugliness of death suddenly became very real when God sacrificed an animal to cover their nakedness. But in that moment . . . in the midst of the chaos of their own making . . . God made them a promise: The seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head.
Did Eve look to her son Cain to be her Savior? Maybe. We all know how that dream ended . . . how far and how quickly mankind can fall when he chooses to forsake God.
But whispers of that promise continued down through the centuries.
To Abraham: “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed . . .” Genesis 22:18
To David: “I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. . . . Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” 2 Samuel 7: 12&16
To the Israelite nation: “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
Then finally, an angel repeated it to a young virgin and the promise was fulfilled.
Are you stressed out today in your efforts to create a perfect Christmas? Newsflash: There is no perfect Christmas. Pies will burn, siblings will squabble, whole families will come down with the flu.
But there is perfect love, joy and peace in the gift of God’s salvation.
Our Savior has come! Take time to CELEBRATE that this Christmas season.
As a bonus this week, I’ve included a link to a favorite new Christmas song of mine. For those of you who like to worship through song . . . enjoy!