“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
1 Corinthians 11:2
“Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.”
It is the night before Christmas and I am deep in thought and wonder. This entire month I have reflected on what Christ’s birth meant and what He accomplished by coming in the flesh. The culmination of this reflection ends tomorrow when we celebrate Christ’s birth. Yet I feel I have barely scratched the surface. I do not want to let another Christmas pass me by without being completely overcome by what our God did.
Traditions vary widely and each one represents something deeper than what is on the surface. Often we can follow and adhere to traditions not knowing why we do. There is a certain comfort in doing things which we have done before, even if we have forgotten why. The original intent behind traditions has often been long forgotten or the initial meaning can become trivialized, yet we tend to cling to what is familiar.
Celebrations of Christian holidays, in particular, can lose their significance when secular ideologies come in, often with tantalizing counterfeits replacing the former tradition. Tonight I attended a Moravian Christmas service; honestly, I had not heard of the Moravian faith and was surprised that it is said to be the first protestant denomination, emanating from a hundred years before Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg. I wondered as people anticipated each portion of the service, if the symbolism behind each aspect of the service was still known. We can all have good feelings when a song is sung, or a candle is lit, but do we know the meaning behind the worship we are giving?
Although I am sure many of us have last minute items we must attend to, far greater than a perfectly planned Christmas, a superbly cooked meal, or a beautifully decorated home, is pausing to worship Jesus. The repetition of a well-known poem can spark good cheer, but sometimes even better than tradition is a new verse penned. In closing, here is a spur of the moment poem; may it cause us to worship God in Spirit and truth.
‘Twas the eve before Christmas and the world was unaware – That soon their God and Creator would be there.
Not as a King ruling from a throne, but ruling in our hearts as His home.
A crude welcome He received, but offered salvation for all who would believe.
His cooing pierced the air and filled his parents with wonder; the unfolding of God’s plan to put our sins asunder.
Miracle of miracles, God in the flesh came, to bear all our sins and take our shame.
The enemy of our souls sought to thwart His plan, but none could outsmart the Son of Man.
The world was blind and could not comprehend, this Promise of God that He did send –
Was the answer to our need, and God’s purpose as well; to restore us to Himself and keep us from Hell.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night – Your Savior has come, to bring you from darkness to light!
May you all sleep in peace and bask in the knowledge of God’s radical selfless love for you – He came for you and gave Himself to you. No greater gift has been given – why not give Him ourselves, as well?
Lord, thank You so much for coming to earth that we might know You. Help us to see how great this love is and to never cease to be in wonder and amazement at You.