Christmas is tomorrow. You probably already knew that. Hopefully all your shopping is done, the cookies have all been baked (or bought) the house is all decorated, and you are ready to settle in to your family rituals that you enjoy each year:
- The distribution of the gifts
- The frantic ripping into the packages
- The “oohs” and “ahhs” over what is inside each box or bag
- The “thank-you’s” and the hugs
- The clean-up
- The family meal
and so on…
I am sure that many of us, perhaps all of us, have, as a part of these rituals, the tradition of reading “The Christmas Story” from Luke chapter two. In my family, we sit down together in the living room and I read the story aloud. Then we take some time to pray and thank God for the greatest gift, the gift that makes all love and all other gifts possible, the gift of His Son Jesus Christ.
We have done this–like many of you–since our oldest son had his first Christmas. And we will continue to do this when we are old and our boys are visiting us with their own families.
The thing that always concerns me about holidays like Christmas is that we have told the story so often we become a little less sensitive to the telling. It becomes something we “know” instead of something we experience fresh and new every time it’s told.
The stories of our faith; Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, and many others, are what help shape the meaning and depth of our faith. It has always been this way. The apostles that walked with Jesus told the members of the early church the stories of those days, and those stories were passed down to future generations of the followers of “The Way” and they are the same stories we hear and tell as Christ followers today.
When you gather around the tree this year, if you’ve never taken the time to tell the story of the birth of Christ, take some time to tell it. If it is something you do every single year, then try something new this time.
Ask everyone to close their eyes for a moment and imagine that they are ancient Christians in the early days of the church and that they are hearing for the very first time ever the story of how God, the creator of the universe, became a man. Not a full grown man, but a helpless baby born to a poor carpenter and his wife in a barn in Bethlehem. Can you imagine what it must have been like for the first disciples of Christ to hear about this?
There should be a sense of awe that comes with the reading of this story. There is none other like it! Who can imagine that the Creator would take on the form of His creatures in order to save His creatures from sin and wrath and death? Who can imagine that a holy and perfect God would become a man and live a life tempted in every single way that we are and yet be without sin only to take all of our sins on Himself?
There is no god like our God! Let’s tell that story this year! Let’s lead our families to a place of worship as we gather togther on Christmas morning. Before we open gifts and eat the Christmas meal and do all the other wonderful things we do each year, let’s tell the story and rejoice.