Christmas doesn’t look the same this year. There are no seasonal venues to attend this year. There will be no live cantatas, no ballets to buy tickets for, no plays to take in, and no concerts to enjoy. Instead, we find ourselves plagued by fear, restricted by our government, and isolated from friends and family at this most festive time of the year.
It is like the Grinch went international in his efforts to take away so much of what we do at Christmastime. What is left seems to be so little in the way of activity and fellowship. We are left, mostly, with who we are…
In times like these we begin to realize the state of our heart and soul, our strength and mind. Remove all the trappings, and like an imposed fast, suddenly we see what our appetites are. We will crave what we are deprived of…unless our true satisfaction lies elsewhere.
Our circumstances make me think of that First Christmas.
What was that like for Joseph and Mary? For their extended family? And for their friends and neighbors?
From what I’ve read, the government made things difficult at that time. They mandated plans for you; restrictions that cost you. Family and friends were separated, work stopped. and Jesus’ parents walked 70 miles, upward, from Nazareth to Bethlehem, a journey of 4-5 days.
Can you imagine what they talked about during that journey?
How much of their talk do you think centered around the requirements or inconveniences of the Census? I’m sure that they talked a bit about being temporarily separated from people that they loved, but I’d wager that most of their time together was focused on Jesus.
After all, Joseph and Mary had been visited by angels. Mary had met with Elizabeth and together they shared that moment when John the Baptist had leapt in his mother’s womb. Zacharias and Elizabeth—along with Joseph and Mary—had all connected the dots of covenantal promise. Zach, Betty, and Mary had all broke out in songs composed of individual gratitude and corporate praise. All of them saw the direct application of what was going on in their lives to that of Old Testament history and the ultimate validation of all of God’s promises. So, yeah, what do you think was foremost on their minds during that first Christmas?
I’m thinking something along the lines of HALLELUJAH!
Their lives all centered around a pregnancy; an impending birth.
The best gift that a married couple can have is when God gives them a child. And that particular blessing, blessed us all, this child was not just to Mary and Joseph, but also “…unto us a Child was born, a Son was given.”
Let all that you are able to do this Advent and Christmas season remind you of who you are in Christ. Do not let any restrictions of mobility, or cancellations, or even health, keep you and yours from seeing the glorious truth that Jesus came, and that He is still here with us.
That first Christmas was not easy either. But their’s was one that we retell in song, in play, in performance,and in story.
This is why the Who’s didn’t miss a beat and gathered to sing, this is the reason that Linus took centerstage when CB was frustrated and confused about what Christmas was all about, this is the joy that Scrooge gloriously found, and this is the epiphany that George Bailey came to…finally!
I’d like to wish you the happiest of Advent Seasons and the Merriest of Christmases, but that is less of a wish and more of a prayer for us all; a prayer that our focus will always remain on The Reason for the season.
Love to you all,