Friday, December 23, 2011

A reason to celebrate

"It's the most wonderful time of the year. . ."

On the way home from a last minute shopping trip, I couldn't help but sing it loud and strong when the song came on the radio. With guests soon to arrive it dawned on me that Christmas was nearly here. There was no more rushing around, no more gifts to buy, no more house to clean. It was time to revel in family and friends and celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus.

It's easy to get caught up in the season. With chestnuts roasting on an open fire and sleigh bells jingling in the snow (well, maybe not this year with temps in the 50's), warm and fuzzies wash over the soul. Candlelight Christmas Eve services make the world stop spinning in silent reverence. All is well.

And then reality comes knocking. All those pent up emotions slowly leach away. The mail box is filled with bills rather than beautiful cards.The world doesn't seem as bright and the body not so light after all those sweets. Decorations carefully displayed end up packaged away in boxes and stored under the stairs for another twelve months. Why does this happen?

Perhaps it happens because we focus on the babe in the manger. If we see only the swaddling clothes and  embrace the musty smell of the straw-filled stable, those images are incapable of holding our attention for very long. But if we see that same scene in the context of the cross, well, that changes everything.

Baby Jesus apart from the cross merely becomes a lovely story. It's when we understand that Jesus was destined to die on that wooden frame that the significance of his birth can be appreciated year-round. There was no other way. The world needed a savior and only the Father had one to give. He chose a path that started in the manger and culminated on Calvary thirty-three years later. But that wasn't the end. The blood of Jesus shed on that cross bridged the gap between God's righteousness and our unholiness.

When we clearly understand the manger in the shadow of the cross, we can have the joy of Christmas through frigid January, windy March, hot and humid July, chilly October days, and back to starry, December nights.

Oh, come let us adore him. . .Christ, our Lord.

2 comments:

Rick Gray said...

God certainly had a plan. Christ is truly our Lord and Savior. Merry Christmas Rebekah

Casseday said...

Merry Christmas Rebekah and Gary!