The Christmas season is here… and I don’t want to miss what it’s really all about in the glitzy wrappings of the season!!
One of the most disappointing things that can happen at Christmas is to receive a beautifully wrapped box that promises something really valuable… something significant… something needed and desired and discover that what is inside is cheap, insignificant, or just a worthless gag gift. I think we’d all rather receive something a bit more commonly wrapped that was really something needed and desired!
All that to say, I really don’t think what the broader culture does with Christmas (or what they call “the holiday season”) captures what this season of the year is all about! In fact, one of the sad commentaries on the secular season, is when it’s all over their analysis of the season is that depression sets in with all of its negative consequences.
Give me the ordinary wrappings of Bethlehem and shepherds on a hillside “keeping watch over their flocks by night” … filled with the splendor of an “angel of the Lord who appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shining around them” and “a great company of the heavenly host appearing with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests!’” Now that’s Christmas!! And I don’t want to miss it!!
All of that was prompted by reading this passage this morning from 2 Peter 1:16-21…
“For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
I, like the shepherds, want to make my personal journey to “Bethlehem” this Christmas season and rediscover the One of whom the prophets spoke… “Today, in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, Christ the Lord!”… “So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger… When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child… and they returned glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen.” (from Luke 2.16-20)
I do not want to be sidetracked from the real gift of Christmas in some glitzy wrappings!!!