Before we let these next few days pass as quickly as a slice of ham - I just want to take a moment to reflect on the reason we celebrate in the first place.
A Savior came for us.
I can get caught up in watching cheesy Christmas movies and baking cut-out cookies with the best of them - but nothing gets my heart going more than reflecting on Jesus coming to earth as a baby.
I'll be honest, for twenty-five Christmases that didn't really mean much to me. I mean I thought it was adorable and everything - Jesus as a baby, with shepherds and wise men bowing down to Him. I pictured the scene from The Lion King when Mufasa was holding Simba up for all the animal kingdom to see. Except, Jesus' crowd was a little smaller - but considering the angels - still epic, nonetheless.
Now that I've had two babies of my own, I consider so many other things about the infancy of Christ.
Like, remembering the first moment I laid eyes on my own baby boy's face. It was an overwhelming feeling that I've never been able to put into words. And one that I imagine overwhelmed Mary in a similar, and even greater way. Her baby boy was also God in the flesh. You don't have to be a parent to consider the awe of holding God for the first time. But somehow, I never really grasped it until I was.
I also consider things like the fact that Jesus would have once had to have his diaper changed. Talk about humility.
There is actually a common theme of humility strung throughout the story of Jesus' birth. From the unwed mother who carried him, to the unconventional place He was born, to the first people to learn about his arrival - Jesus was not sent to be royalty on earth. And yet, God chose for Jesus to be biologically carried full-term and born from a woman because, he wanted him to have a birthday. He wanted His Son to be celebrated. And from the moment the angels appeared to the shepherds to announce the birth of our Savior, the celebration hasn't stopped!
And thousands of years later we have an established calendar holiday for the birth of Jesus Christ - the day we call, "Christmas."
But if I could be honest with you, Christmas Day as much as I enjoy it, doesn't quite seem like enough. First of all, it comes and goes so quickly (TWO MORE DAYS!) And I struggle to fit in every single tradition - decorate the tree, go see Christmas lights, read stories, open gifts, prepare food, watch movies, sing songs, eat food and enjoy being with family. Those are all wonderful things and great ways to celebrate, but if we were really to celebrate the birth of Jesus the way God intended it - I think we would do more seeking of His face and less stuffing of ours (but by all means, please do stuff your face - good food shouldn't go to waste!)
When you believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus, just celebrating His birth isn't enough. He becomes worthy of celebration in the normal, mundane, every day of your life.
And this, my friends, is the most wonderful news of all! Good news to those of you who want peace, love and joy all year long. And good news to those who feel like Christmas Day is full of pain and a longing for better days.
This Christmas will be a bit of a different one for us. We'll be missing some family members and utilizing the (great) invention of Facetime and social media to share moments with others.
But when traditions end, plans fall through and family can't be together to celebrate - Jesus still deserves to be.
And maybe, for some of you, this will be the first Christmas you really, truly see Jesus as the reason to celebrate. I can promise you, that once you do - Christmas will never be enough for you either.