December 25, 2017
More Than a Merry Christmas
But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. (Luke 2:19, ESV)
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On the night that divinity merged with fleshy humanity as Jesus came on the scene in a stable, things of earth were shaken and stirred with fresh glory and awesome wonder.
A host of heavenly angels appeared in the sky praising God and celebrating the arrival of the long awaited Messiah. They left their veiled existence to speak and sing to a few lowly shepherds in a field.
Wait, what? Why?
To announce the good news of great joy that came as a gift from God in a cloth-clad baby-package named Jesus. The singing sky creatures pointed the shepherds to the swaddled Savior who was in a manger near by and urged them to go and check out the Christ child.
When the shepherds came on the scene they found Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus just as the angels had said. (Luke 2:16) They worshiped, were in awe, and “spread the word concerning what had been told them concerning this child.” (Luke 2:17, 20)
And Mary? She took it all in.
She reflected and worshiped.
The Bible says she, “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
I know this story. You probably do too. But let’s glance again at the responses…
In celebration of the mangered-Messiah, heavenly hosts sang praises to God and lit up the sky with joy. Shepherds ran to see Jesus, glorified God, and amazed listeners by telling them about all they had seen and heard. A young new mama soaked in the wonder of it all and marinated on the majesty before her.
When I consider the contrast between the first Christmas and today’s Christmas, I realize how far we’ve wandered.
Instead of filling the sky with declarations of deity our airwaves are filled with grumblings over whether we should say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. We plow each other over with shopping carts and claw our way to the front of lines for the sake of a sale. We spend money that we don’t have and justify - even glorify - gluttonous intakes.
Wait, what? Why?
What are we pondering? Where are we fixing our focus?
That first Christmas was much more than merry. It was sacred… holy… filled with wonder and worship.
That first Christmas was all about Jesus.
More than having a merry Christmas, I’m stirred to have a meaningful Christmas that takes me back to the manger that led to the cross. One that mixes the merry with the meditative. One that pairs the fruit of the Spirit with the fruitcake. One that lingers with both lively praise and low-bending prayers. One that harks the herald and helps the hungry.
Yes. I want us all to have a merry Christmas. But more than that I long for us to have a meaningful Christmas. Not one that is consumed with consuming or lost in senseless secondary conversations, but one that is fixed on adoration, celebration, consideration and awe. One that reflects on and gives thanks to God for sending Jesus to be our hope. One that is rich with depth and love and relationship. One that is filled with the fullness of His grace.
So that’s the challenge. For us to lay aside nonsensical controversies, behaviors and distractions, and instead focus on celebrating a merry and meaningful, Messiah-focused Christmas.
Holy Lord, All glory and honor and praise be to Your name! Thank You for invading the darkness of this world and my heart with Your light. Help me to live a life of meaningful, purposed, responsive worship during this Christmas season and every day.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read Luke 2.
Pause for a moment of personal reflection. What’s one thing you can do today that will make this season more meaningful and purposed? Post your one-thing answer in the comments section of my blog and let’s discuss some fresh ideas as a community of sisters today.
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Originally published Monday, 25 December 2017.