They steal the show every year. Sure, we are happy to see the fourth grade girl who plays Mary in the year’s Sunday School Christmas Program, and we giggle a little when the boy playing Joseph has a voice higher than that of his “betrothed wife,” but we all know the best part of the show are the two, three, and four-year-olds. When they take the stage dressed as little lambs crawling around the manger scene or making the motions to “Christmas bells, Christmas bells, ring them all the day; God the Father sent His son on that first Christmas Day,” this is the moment for cameras to flash and film. The stars for the evening have arrived.
Beyond the stage, the Christmas season provides us with a most wonderful time of the year to model and to teach truths we Christians hold dear. Your Christmas can be more than a seasonal event if you will take advantage of the time before you.
Develop the practice to give rather than receive. As Christians we know the great joy of receiving God’s indescribable gift. The salvation we enjoy was not earned by our merits, but was handed to us by God’s grace. While the gift of our Lord was a great sacrifice for the Father, it was his joy to extend the gift to us.
My mom went to be with the Lord shortly following last Christmas. When we were with her Christmas morning, she seemed tired, but I assumed (wrongly) this was simply missing my dad, her first Christmas without him. What we didn’t know was the deterioration of her heart had once again reached critical mass. She would die less than a month later.
For her last Christmas my mom chose to model to her children and grandchildren the Bible truth that it is better to give than receive. In the tree was a small envelope. Inside, a brief note described a generous gift my mom made to a single parent, a woman with very little who spent was she earned on the care of her daughter. It brought my mom great joy to know of this woman’s receipt of her gift.
In a county dominated by an “All I want for Christmas is…” mentality, we Christians can be different. How will you teach this truth to your children? How will you live this truth in your own life?
Start a search to know the great plan of God. Have you ever tried to explain to a child how the baby in the manger is God? I wonder how our kindergarten Sunday School teachers do what they do. Adults ask me simple questions like “How do I help my teenage son?” But those early childhood teachers, they get the really tough questions.
The incarnation, God becoming a man, is a great mystery we accept by faith. That means because God told us it is so we believe it though we may not fully understand it. That we cannot understand fully should not prevent us from understanding partially. How hungry are you to know the mind of God? Do you want to know him, his works, his plans, his wisdom? What questions about God deserve your efforts to find an answer that reveals his greatness to you? As the psalmist wrote, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.”
Christmas affords great opportunities for parents to trigger curiosity in their children about who God is. Fan the flame of the wonder of God in the minds of the young ones telling them what God did in Bethlehem so many years ago.
Make Christmas about Jesus, not family, not tradition, not vacation but about Jesus. Most have their traditions about the Christmas, and they serve as wonderful occasions to promote happiness, love, appreciation, and good memories. I cherish every memory I maintain of Christmases long ago shared with those now with the Lord. As meaningful as the moments in the present and the remembrances of the past, can we Christians celebrate more than those without Christ celebrate?
To make Christmas more about Jesus will require purpose. You will have to think, “How can I emphasize Jesus so that he increases and we decrease?” This question may produce blessings you never imagined. Presenting that question to those in your house may produce opportunties you never considered.
May this Christmas season be most joyful for you, Christian, as you soak in the wonder of God becoming man.
As always, I welcome your feedback and any suggestions you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.