The celebration of Christmas seems to begin earlier and earlier every year. We used to wait until after Thanksgiving to mention Christmas. These days, retailers jump at the chance to begin focusing on holiday sales right after Halloween. Many express concern, with good reason, about how we materialize our celebration of Jesus’ birth. On the other hand, the fact that our entire culture shifts its attention toward Christmas for two full months opens wonderful opportunities.
The miracle and wonder of the first Christmas was lost on almost all who lived in Bethlehem. After all, Caesar had done the local economy a great favor in declaring a census that required everyone to return to their family’s heritage birthplace.
In his book, “God Came Near”, Max Lucado powerfully highlights the trappings of the first and current Christmases. He writes,
The noise and the bustle began earlier than usual in the village. As night gave way to dawn, people were already on the streets. Vendors were positioning themselves on the corners of the most heavily traveled avenues. Store owners were unlocking the door to their shops…The owner of the inn had awakened earlier than most in the town. After all, the inn was full, all the beds were taken…and there would be a lot of work to do…The city hums. The merchants are unaware that God has visited their planet. The innkeeper would never have believed that he had just sent God into the cold. And the people would scoff at anyone who told them the Messiah lay in the arms of a teenager on the outskirts of their village. They were all too busy to consider the possibility. Those who missed His Majesty’s arrival that night missed it not because of evil acts or malice; no, they missed it simply because they weren’t looking.
We are four weeks away from Christmas day. Lets each commit that we will not be among those who, because of busyness, miss the celebration of Jesus. Tree of Life has already begun to highlight the birth of our Saviour among our students. We are committed to teaching the true Christmas story to the next generation. A focus on Jesus can keep us from missing Christmas.
Todd R. Marrah, Ph.D