I promised some guest posts for you. Hopefully you caught the one my husband wrote earlier this month. Here's another by my friend, Melody Miller. Melody is co-host of A Positive Start to Your Day, a radio morning show. If you enjoy this, catch her on her morning show blog.
With two days until, my “this needs to be done before Christmas” checklist is beginning to dwindle. It’s such a busy season. There are so many preparations to made – gifts to buy and then wrap, cards to send, decorations to display, ornaments to hang, parties to attend, food to prepare – an entire season of celebration, all culminating in one special day that we spend with friends and family making memories that we will treasure for a lifetime as we celebrate the gift of a child that born more than 2000 years ago.
I think there was that same sense of the hurry (and probably stress) in the preparation on that first Christmas. The story tells of a long journey back to Joseph’s hometown because it was time to pay the taxes. Mary had to travel on the back of a donkey in the final days of her pregnancy. Then, once they arrived, they couldn’t find a place to stay so they find themselves in a stable, using a manger as a baby bed. That first night most likely was not a silent one – it was likely noisy (there were so many people in town there weren’t even rooms left) and smelly (hanging out with the animals) and painful (she was giving birth in a stable). Yet, this was the night they had prepared for and waited for – not only for the months of a pregnancy as Mary knew the child she carried would some day save the world – and, not only for Mary and Joseph but for so many people who had waited for this day, who had hoped and prayed and prepared for Messiah to come.
In the busy-ness of the season, sometimes it’s difficult to find quiet moments to appreciate and remember the reason for the celebration. Oh those moments are there if you look for them – it’s in the stillness of the house with the glow of the lights on the tree, it’s in the crisp winter air with the sounds of carolers in the distance, it’s in the violin solo for “” at the Christmas concert, and it’s in the words of that story from so long ago….
"And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “ in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”stood before them, and the
Ready or not, Christmas will be here in two days and soon enough we will be taking down the lights and the tree and packing them away for another year. I think thegives us a beautiful picture of what our response should be after it is finally time to celebrate the moment we have been preparing for. After the shepherds visited Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus on that night, two things happened. The shepherds left and told EVERYONE – “they made it widely known” and then went back to their jobs in the field, praising God for what had just happened. And, Mary found a moment of quiet reflection at the end of what must have been a very long day to think about these things and “ponder them in her heart.” You can almost picture this new mom not wanting to forget a moment of what had happened on that day as she held her child (who would some day become her Savior) in her arms.
My hope is that during this time of celebration, we will not lose sight of what matters in the midst of the busy-ness and the preparation.
- May we will find the time to tell everyone about the true meaning of Christmas – making certain that our children know and that our friends don’t forget the reason for the celebration.
- May we will find a moment of quiet reflection to ponder the wonder of it all.
- And, may we praise God for providing the greatest gift of all on that very first Christmas – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” --John 3:16
May your Christmas be filled with much hope and peace - Merry Christmas!