Monday, December 22, 2014
“While they were there, the time came for Mary to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in manager, because there was no place for them in the inn.” Luke 2:6-7
A Word of Hope
As Christmas 2014 approaches, activities become hectic. There are things to do, presents to buy, places to go, parties to attend. Many people in the “Christmas business” such as preachers, church musicians, retail salespeople, postmen, UPS people, etc., privately think in their heads, “I can’t wait until December 26 and it is finally all over. I need the rest.” It is a period all driven by tension and an expectation that we have to do so much in so little time.
One of my favorite Christmas stories is the the famous “A Charlie Brown Christmas” by Charles Schultz. Most of you have seen it on television perhaps many times. There is this big party that Charlie Brown is in charge of. Lucy, of course, doesn’t like the way he is handling it. Snoopy goes wild dancing and jumping around. There is mayhem everywhere. Charlie feels like a failure. Then Linus takes the stage and says, “I’ll tell you what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.” He then recites the opening words from Luke 2 about the birth of Jesus in a manager in Bethlehem. For a moment the power of these words takes away from the frivolity of the party and gives some real meaning to what Christmas is really about.
Sometimes we need to stop long enough from our holiday rush to think about the holy day which causes it all. Try doing a simple exercise like Linus: Try sitting alone in a quiet place or with one of two other people and reading out loud Luke 21:1-14. Let these beautiful words consume you and let your own heart hear the words of the angels. “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people. For to you is born this day in the city of David, A Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”
For all you Charlie Browns of the world, this is what Christmas is really about.
Almighty God, we give you thanks for the gift of your son; for your son Jesus, born as a baby to humble parents, revealed your eternal and everlasting love for all of humankind. Amen.
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