This week we consider 10 possibilities that could have ruined that first Christmas long ago, or Christmas today. And rejoice in God’s gracious and guiding hand, that they don’t ruin his plans.
7) This year Christmas is lacking its luster. The splendor is fading, especially as we try to keep the cost down with fewer frills. Or maybe it’s just getting old for you, an empty tradition.
Consider the mundane night watch of shepherds babysitting their sheep in the fields outside Bethlehem. No splendor there. No Christmas lights. No piles of beautifully wrapped gifts. Instead of scents of pine and cinnamon or roasted chestnuts it smelled like sweat and manure. Quite ordinary. And this was the target of heaven-sent angels announcing the Savior’s birth, as well as the less-than-spectacular sign of the manger scene.
Don’t worry too much about the splendor of Christmas, especially if you can’t afford it or no longer yearn for it with child-like awe. Just find God in your ordinary and everyday. He’s there (Luke 2:8-11).
8) This would ruin Christmas: Angels copyright the birth announcement and name themselves the exclusive spokespersons of Christmas.
Well, who can say it better than angels? Shepherds, actually. And you. Angels are nice, but they’re not normal. They are supernatural. You are normal. Maybe a little odd, okay, but so am I and so is everyone else. No, we don’t have it all together with angelic precision. So we need a Savior, just like those to whom we spread the good news. Go, tell it on the mountain (Luke 2:13-18; Isaiah 52:7).
9) Jesus is an acceptable choice among many options that make people right with God. Yes, this does ruin Christmas! If I invent my own religion or choose a man-made deity and believe “my way,” then what value is such a religion? It’s no bigger or better than the human mind!
We’re not capable of saving ourselves. Our sins and shame, our guilt and mistakes, have only one answer for hope. It is full of grace. It embodies absolute truth. Jesus Christ is the One and Only Savior. He is born for all. Kneel at his manger and let him be born for you.
10) Can disrupted plans ruin Christmas? Mary may have scripted different plans for the birth of her firstborn, but after it was all done she looked back and treasured it all.
Invest your meaning and destiny less in human plans and more in the words of God, because he keeps his word. Every time. For all time. It will always happen for you “just as [you’ve] been told” in God’s Word (Luke 2:19,20).
PRAYER: Thank you for the joy and celebration of Christmas, God. May the spirit of this season continue in my life, leading me into a new year with new opportunities from you. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Galatians 4:4,5 wraps up our little series by assuring us of God’s perfect timing. Where in your life do you need to trust in God more and let his timing lead the way instead of yours?