Final piece of a twelve part series on Christmas and the Messiah’s birth.
It’s now the day after Christmas. This evening, I’m reflecting on the last few weeks.The parties in our home with friends and coworkers enriched me. There was shopping and planning. Then Christmas Eve arrived, with the Candle Light Service at church; a beautiful expression of God’s love through his son’s birth. The songs, singing, and sights move me. Seeing hundreds of candles lifted up in honor of Bethlehem’s infant king just overwhelms me! Then its home and fabulous food, fun family events, and the anticipation of tomorrow morning. Christmas starts very early. I get up, build a fire, turn on the tree lights, get some music going, and make the coffee. Then I wake up my daughter, as I’ve done for many years. We sit in front of the fire to greet Christmas morning. She’s married now, but we still sit in front of the fire, moments I still treasure. Finally, everyone gets up. We get our overflowing stockings, enjoy a special breakfast, then it’s presents and paper. I love Christmas. But there is more isn’t there?
I’ve thought more about what it cost Joseph and Mary to bring Christmas to us. Culturally, the holiday seems decreasingly holy and increasingly secular. So I decided to write about the birth of Jesus for my own edification. I started with his visit to the temple at age 12 then worked backwards to the night of his birth, thinking about Mary and Joseph. I thought about their fear with Herod’s plan to kill Jesus. On how horrible for them to hear about the infant boys Herod had killed. Egypt must have been difficult. Joseph and Mary, each demonstrated deep faith and character. Their trip to Bethlehem, with Mary nine months pregnant, must have been very difficult. I’ve imagined the night of the angels and shepherds, and then the Magi’s visit. But mostly, I reflected on the night of his birth, in the stalls for sheep and donkeys. And yet, it was a night divine, a silent and holy night. A night when the Judean desert was illuminated by a magnificent star.
It was the night of Emmanuel. The night our Heavenly Father came near. For our world was His to love and a world in need of forgiveness.This could only happen through Messiah, who came as a newborn. The infant king was the light of the world, and the way, the truth, and the life.
When we say,”Merry Christmas” we are really saying:
“May God’s joyous grace bless you on the day of our Savior’s birth.”