Unwrapping Christmas • Joy – 12/18/22
Christmas is only a week away. All around we experience the lights, decorations, advertisements, and sounds of Christmas…bells, music. It would seem almost impossible to miss Christmas. But you can be close, even in the midst of Christmas, and miss it! When we look at the first Christmas we see several individuals who missed the main event. The innkeeper was oblivious to the identity of the guest born in his stable. Herod was clueless. When the wise men arrived inquiring about the birth of a king, he consulted the leading priests and teachers of religious law. They informed him of the prophesy indicating the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, just five miles from Jerusalem. Herod’s interest was only for self-preservation, to preempt any threats to his reign. However, the Bible doesn’t indicate that any of the religious leaders or priests bothered to make the five-mile trip to check it out. How could you spend a lifetime studying the Scriptures and anticipating the coming of the Messiah and miss the whole thing? I wonder if any of them ever realized what they missed. It would be tragic for us to allow the busyness of the season to be so consuming that it steals the wonder and beauty that Christmas represents.
Scriptures – Luke 2:7, 10-11, 19; Matthew 2:1-2, 11
Verse – 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. (Lk 2:7) …and as soon as the wise men arrived, they saw Him with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. They unpacked their satchels and gave Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Mt 2:11)
Thought – The Scriptures also give insight into those who allowed the wonder and beauty of the first Christmas to surround them. Look at those who didn’t miss the Savior’s birth. For one, the shepherds went immediately to see the baby after an angel told them of the Messiah’s birth. Then there were the wise men who traveled from the east. How many miles, how many months did they journey following a star which indicated that a world-altering event had taken place. They didn’t want to miss it. And remember what a mess the whole ordeal was for Mary and Joseph. They experienced an unexpected pregnancy, social humiliation, an arduous journey to Bethlehem (90 miles), and the unconventional birth of their first child in a dirty stable. It would have been easy for them to be discouraged, depressed, and confused. However, they kept their eyes on Jesus and observed all that God was doing. Keep your heart focused on Jesus during this Christmas season, no matter how messy the plans, events and details may get. Spend time adoring the King who came to save the sins of the world…the King who came to save you!
Questions – What do you most love about the Christmas season? What do you dread about the Christmas season? Have you ever missed Christmas? How do you keep from missing Christmas? What is the center of your Christmas? Is it truly Christ? How do you “adore” Him? What would you most like to get this Christmas? What gift do you bring to the King?
Response – Take a breath. Take some time each day to spend alone with God during this Christmas season, no tv, no phone. Go outside and look up at the heavens, make yourself available. Take a sincere step and open your heart and mind to God. Ask Him to touch your heart and spirit.
Prayer – Dear God, thank you for your great love that bridged the gap between You and me! Help me to adore the Christ who came for the sins of the world, for my sins. Help me to keep my heart focused on the main event this Christmas so that I don’t miss the wonder and beauty of your great gift. In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.