Today’s Readings: Luke 1:39-80; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-40
If you are following along with our Chronological Bible Reading Plan today you came across Christmas. For it me it was nice to come across the Christmas story in the middle of September. It gave me a chance to reflect on my different Christmases across the years. I could recall my early Christmases with my brother and sisters in our home. We used to sit in our brand new pajamas on Christmas morning, drinking juice and eating coffee cake while we open presents. Nice Memories.
Since I have been married Christmases has taken on a new form. I think of Christmas now as time with my wife and her family in Guatemala. It is very different than how I remember Christmas. For one there is no snow in Guatemala for Christmas. Secondly, Christmas is celebrated at midnight on Christmas Eve. No Christmas morning present opening in pajamas. For me now, Christmas is 75 F with tamales and fireworks.
Christmas is a holiday man created to celebrate or remember the birth of the Messiah, the anointed Savior. There is no Biblical mandate, commandment or even suggestion that we set aside one special day to remember the baby in the manger. History tells us that Christmas really became a holiday first celebrated a couple hundred years after Jesus’ birth. As a matter of fact we have very little idea on what exact day Jesus was born.
But over time, man determined, independent of Bible teaching that it was an important event to honor. I don’t criticize the creation of Christmas as a holiday. It is a fine way to bring forth the topic of the Savior of mankind being born in the humble form of a baby in a manger. Sure there are some traditions and ties to secular or pagan festivals. Man has been creative in adopting and adapting to the culture around them. What is most important is that it is a way to celebrate the birth of the Savior.
In reality, every day should be Christmas. Every day should be a day to celebrate the coming down to earth of God in form of man. Shouldn’t we have the attitude of the shepherds that evening every day?
Luke 2:8 – 18 (NLT)
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished,
The shepherds received a message from the angels and they went to see if it was true. Once they knew it was true they hurriedly went about to tell every one they could what had happened.
Shouldn’t that be our attitude every day? Shouldn’t we be hurrying about telling everyone that the Baby Jesus was born? That a savior had been born? That a means for peace had come to those with whom God is pleased?
Maybe we should hang our Christmas lights all year round? Maybe we should have a decorated tree and a manger seen set up in our house all the time? That way when a new person comes by and asks what we are doing we can proclaim the birth of the Messiah.