“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared 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.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 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 all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.” Luke 2:1-21 (NIV)
I love Christmas! I love everything about it except for the decorations that start showing up in the stores in July. That, not so much.
I love how happy most people seem to be – more so than any other time of year. I love hearing Christmas music playing almost everywhere I go. I love the markets, the holiday events, and parties, even though I limit myself to attending only a one, or two. I love decorating my home the day after Thanksgiving – a tradition my family had while I was growing up.
Even though the Christmas season is my favorite time of the year, I can easily get bogged down with my “to do’ lists. I’m responsible for much during this season, given what I do, and my plate is always full – sometimes overflowing. Therefore, it’s important for me to say, no, frequently, and to actively engage in simple acts that will keep my focus where it should be. So I’m honored to be among the writers included in this Advent Series, because this is one way I can be intentional about slowing down and remembering.
There’s something about the Christmas story that, for me, makes it the most beautiful story of all. I think we’d all probably agree that it was an event that changed our past, our present, and our future in ways I don’t believe we’ll ever fully comprehend. I’d dare say that it was the most simplistically holy event this world has ever known. See here what I mean.
Remember those frightened shepherds in the field, watching their flocks by night? What was it the angel said to them?
“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12
Tucked into this unimaginable story are these three little sentences, and in these three sentences are five words I can’t let pass us by: “The Savior—yes, the Messiah…”
Take a moment to savor those words.
“The Savior—yes, the Messiah,” didn’t come to us as we’d expect a King’s arrival should be, at least not an earthly king. His Father, the Creator of all things, thought it best for our human minds to accept one like us, and instead of a king on a throne, he sent His beloved Son to us as a small, helpless baby, whose first bed was probably made of feed for the animals in whose home He shared. “The Savior—yes, the Messiah.”
This is our Savior.
Sure the story is sweet, and precious, and we love watching the Nativity being played out in front of us in plays, on lawns, and on TV. But it’s more than just a sweet story when we stop to consider how very selfless was this sacrifice, “The Savior—yes, the Messiah,” gave when He left His throne for a makeshift crib, to live a life of holiness for everyone to see, before He gave his life for all, even those who’d never receive His gift. Oh, what a Savior!
It commands our awe and wonder. Friends, we can’t allow the rushing around, the shopping, the making merry, and the busyness we can so easily fall into during this season, overshadow the fact that we have a Savior who loves us so extravagantly, that He chose to live among us, and chooses still to live in us. What better reason to celebrate “The Savior—yes, the Messiah.”
What traps you and causes you to lose focus on the Savior during the holidays?
How can you be more intentional this season about savoring the true message of Christmas?