Core scripture: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Message: Time to get those last second stocking stuffers. Don’t forget to stop by Target to get the shampoo for your trip. Oh, wait. Trip! It might be a good time to start packing. But you can’t pack until you do the laundry. Considering you have four loads, you better prepare for an ice cold shower.
And what about the Christmas party tomorrow night? You still haven’t gotten that white elephant gift. Or started your Nana’s cookie recipe—the one you NEVER forget to serve on Christmas. Did you forget to kennel the dog? Tell your neighbor to help put out your trash?
And all the while your kids are telling you they are bored and need something to do. (I actually did take a break from my blog to let my boys burn some energy off.)
The next thing you know, Christmas has come and gone. Time to take down the decorations and get ready for the new year. You wonder where the time went. Although it is nearly impossible to escape the chaos of the holidays, we can still take time to pause and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.
I think about that first Christmas. Chaos surrounded the entire setting. People traveling in for the census, swamping Bethlehem … Mary’s belly about to burst … Herod’s declaration that every child under two be killed … Settling into a stinky, stale stable to give birth to a baby amidst hey, laying Him in a manger. Not sure if that is the way I would want my first child to be born.
The shepherds, startled by the angel’s message, rushed to meet the new baby boy.
“They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often” (Luke 2:16-19).
Did you catch that? It is such a small detail, yet Mary remembered the importance of reflecting on what just happened. She had given birth to God’s only son. The chaos of the scene did not matter. She simply carved that time out, took a deep breath, and pondered. It is not easy to slow down and reflect like Mary, but we can do the same.
Sit down with your family and read the Bible story of Jesus’ birth. Pause in the middle of the day and ask your children, “I wonder what Mary and Joseph were doing right now?” Stop and observe a manger scene you pass by. Let time stop for a moment and just breathe. Ponder. Think about that sweet child. He is the reason for the season.
Prayer: Lord, rest my heart today. Allow me to take a break from the chaos of the world around me to reflect on what Christmas is all about. Thank you for the best gift anyone could ever receive: the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.