Christmas Can Be Complicated
During October, November and December, our senses are confused by the mixed messages of Halloween, harvest, and Christmas on store aisles. As December nears, children see advertisements and displays of a nutcracker, manger, and Santa. On any one day, we tune the radio dial and hear “Jingle Bells” right after we have been lost in the beauty and reverence of “O Holy Night”. “Holiday” musicals and movies include the Grinch and Santa, and we attend a live nativity at a local church. It’s hard to focus as we go from one activity to the next and check off items on our lists. Christmas can be complicated.
But…For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given…Isaiah 9:6a (ESV)
Is Jesus Prominent
We’re remembering a birthday and it’s a festive time of year. Birthdays are joyous, not somber. They’re associated with parties and gifts. But each of us can ask, “In my celebrations, activities, and attitudes, where is my focus? Is Jesus prominent to me so that I can make Him prominent to others?”
When we read the accounts of Jesus birth-beginning with the angels’ announcement to Mary, and ending with the Magi’s visit to the house, we see lots of activity.
An announcement of a most unusual event is given to a teen-aged girl and her life is complicated and changed forever. (Luke 1:26-38)
Joseph’s fiancé is pregnant, but he responds in an honorable way, and it’s complicated. (Matthew 1:18-25)
Mary traveled to see her cousin Elizabeth, and their conversation left them rejoicing in God despite uncertain complicated circumstances of both women. (Luke 1:39-56)
The shepherds left their jobs and hurried to visit the manger after the angels announced Jesus’ birth to them. (Luke 2:8-20)
When Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the temple, two devout people they didn’t know, met them and gave thanks to God for sending His Son. (Luke 2:22-40)
The Magi traveled a long distance. The trip was complicated, but they were determined to see the One who was born King of the Jews and gave gifts to Jesus at the house. (Matthew 2:1-12)
As we read the Christmas story in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, we see scenes and movement.
People pondered, traveled, celebrated, worshipped, and gave. The scenarios were complicated, but they kept their focus on Immanuel, God with us.
Stop And Focus Because To Us A Child Is Born
Our Christmas season is filled with activity. We shop for gifts, attend programs, spend time with friends and family, bake cookies, and often feel stressed. Like the characters in the Christmas story our lives are complicated. We worship, celebrate, give, navigate relationships, and even travel. In our movement, we can stop and focus, as the characters in the Christmas story, because,
“…to us a child is born, to us a son is given…” (Isaiah 9:6a NIV)
Today, in your complicated life, will you stop to focus and embrace the one we call “…Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”? (Isaiah 9:6 NIV)