6-7While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.
An Event for Everyone8-12There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."
13-14At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises:
Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.
15-18As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.
19-20Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!
A day that is now celebrated world wide, all different cultures and races. Rich and poor, Believers and non-believers.
That last part has always confused me! Believers and non-believers celebrate Christmas, why is that? Non-Muslims do not celebrate Ramadan. Non-Hindus do not celebrate Diwali. Non-Jewish do not celebrate Hanukkah so why do non-Christians celebrate Christmas?
Wanna know why? Its because Christmas is no longer a religious festival, no longer a Christian celebration. It is now a celebration of consumerism a commercial festival of greed! OUCH that's hard to read right?
But its true, at least for the majority of those who are caught up in the festivities of Christmas. Believer and non-believers alike. I can raise my hand in guilt. I was on the festival of consumerism bandwagon, and I threw myself over board approximately 4 days ago.
I was in the mall trying to find gifts for my kids. There were people everywhere, shopping carts piled high with food, alcohol and gifts. Kids complaining and throwing tantrums, Mums looking stressed, ticking off items from meter long shopping lists, dads looking bored just wanting to be home watching whatever game was on the box.
I stood back and watched a family of 4 trying to push 6 shopping carts full of Christmas "supplies" to their car. and I felt sad. I thought about how God sent His son. A human baby boy born in a stable to a teenage mother. Even before He was born He was destined to die. To die for the sins of the world, to suffer for others.
God did that for us, He sent His son. Check out John 3:16, its the truth. And once a year we celebrate the birth of that Savior by spending unnecessary amounts of money on "stuff". By eating until we cant move, by drinking until we pass out.
I'm not doing it any more. I refuse to let my desire for wanting more "stuff" be more important than the sacrifice that God made that night when He sent His only Son to earth.
I refuse to let my children grow up thinking that Christmas is about getting more, about how many gifts under the tree have their names on. I want them to know that Christmas is and always has been about giving not receiving. It is about the gift of Jesus, the gift of God's unconditional love. It is about giving with out agenda, giving with out expectancy. Giving love, time and friendship. About giving His joy to others.
So this Christmas I'm keeping it real, not going over the top with spending, but instead I will be going over the top in sharing His love with those in my life.
Just a thought.