18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:18-21 NIV)
Christmas is just one day away. The malls are being filled with last minute shoppers who are emptying the shelves and their pockets trying to find the perfect gift for family and friends. Families are making last minute travel plans as they anxiously look forward to hugging the necks of loved ones. Many of those who have suffered a divorce, the death of someone they love, poor health, or the loss of a job just to name a few are not looking forward to Christmas day at all. Christmas will not be full of cheer for many of the broken and lonely.
There will be gifts shared at Christmas this year, just like there are gifts shared each Christmas. Toys will bring a big smile to the faces of little ones who will toss and turn on Christmas Eve wondering if Santa will really come. Older kids will glory in a new gadget, the latest technology..until the next Christmas season rolls around. Prince Charming will light up the face of Cinderella with a necklace or ring to demonstrate his endless love.
In my 51 years on the planet I’ve experienced sadness and joy at Christmas. I’ve been the little kid who woke up Christmas morning to find Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots under the tree. I can remember getting my first Walkman (remember those?) as well as an iPod. I’ve even tried to play the role of Prince Charming and bought Connie some jewelry, even though she would prefer a weedeater or garden tools. I absolutely love that about that girl!
With all that Christmas has been, can be, could be, or what we hope it will be this year–the one thing that I cherish about Christmas is the truth from Matthew’s Gospel. More important than family gathering around the table is the fact that God drew near, and continues to draw near to this day. More important than Santa coming on Christmas morn is the fact that Jesus came. What He has brought to my life and yours didn’t come from Best Buy, Macy’s, or Neiman Marcus, it came from the heart of the Father. He came to give and to take. He has come to give us hope, to give us peace, to give us life, even eternal life. And He has come to take our sins away..to take them upon Himself. Merry Christmas!