When I was a teenager, I traveled around the U.S. with a Christian Drama Company. I went to 42 states in a year and a half. When you travel that much with a group of people, you tend to become like family. The only real break we had from each other was the two weeks surrounding Christmas break. Because we had all become so close-knit, we decided to start a new tradition of celebrating Christmas in July. We would sing Christmas carols, eat festive foods, and exchange gifts with each other. A great time was had by all.
Some would say it is completely irreverent to celebrate Christ’s birth any other time than December 25. But the reality is that we should celebrate His birth every day of the year. As we read through the Gospel of Luke and are reintroduced to the greatest true story ever told, we should immediately be drawn to a place of thanksgiving, adoration, and worship. We remember God chose to dress himself in flesh and blood and move into the neighborhood. He sent his one and only Son to reveal who he really is.
Close your eyes with me and imagine Silent Night playing somewhere in the background and think back to the scene of our Savior’s birth. Mary has been promised she would bear a child though a virgin. She does indeed become pregnant, and about the time for her to deliver her firstborn son, Joseph and Mary are called to Bethlehem to pay taxes. While they were there, they stayed in a place reserved for animals because there was no room in the inn. When Jesus was born, they wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger filled with hay. About that time, shepherds were watching their flock by night when suddenly they were surrounded by a heavenly host singing glory to God in the highest and peace on earth. The shepherds ran to Bethlehem to see this baby who was born to save them from their sins.
A few days later when Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple to be dedicated, Simeon and Anna, who had been waiting for this day for their whole lives were blessed to see with their eyes and hold in their hands the Son of God. Overwhelmed with joy, Simeon spoke out the words that give us hope on Christmas day and every day. “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
Merry Christmas everybody!