The most wonderful time of the year

Nativity-from-BethlehemChristmas, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. For the majority, it’s a time defined by eating and shopping … a lot. It’s when people get into the “Christmas spirit,” and everywhere focus more on giving to those in need. And it’s when families and friends gather ‘round in restaurants, kitchens and living rooms to enjoy time together, the soft glow of twinkling lights on our faces.

Ah, warm fuzzies.

Yes, it’s a great time of year, and these are all worthwhile things. But, in the midst of all our togetherness and cheer, the real message of Christmas – the reason it’s even a holiday – has been so diluted that even as a Christian I sometimes forget the magnitude of why we celebrate.

It was my favorite rendition of a very familiar song that reminded me to refocus this year. You’ve probably sung the tune in the car this year, maybe in-between “Christmas Shoes” and “Carol of the Bells.”

“O holy night the stars are brightly shining It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices For yonder breaks a new glorious morn.”

At Christmas, we celebrate an incredible promise fulfilled through the birth of one baby, through one young girl, that God would send his only son to make a way for us to know Him.

We acknowledge the outrageous truth that for thousands of years, faithful men and women yearned, longed, pined for the coming of this child, the rightful heir to the throne of Israel, who would not be welcomed with triumphant applause, but in squalor.

We are thankful for the fact that we serve a God who was humble enough to be born of a virgin but strong enough to willingly die a bloody and gruesome death for those he loves.

Yes, we rejoice in the coming of a Savior, one who in His coming broke the pattern of sin and in his life, death and resurrection broke, forever, the bonds of sin and death, making a way for you and me to know God.

This is why I celebrate. This is why Christmas exists. And this is why I’ll be sure to wish you a merry Christmas and happy holidays, two considerably different things, if I get to see you soon.

During the course of this week, I’ll enjoy the season, reveling in those things that give me warm fuzzies. I’ll watch all the movies. I’ll get together with friends. I’ll leave cookies out for Santa, and maybe a few celery sticks out for Rudolph and the gang. I’ll enjoy delicious meals with those I love most.

But much more, I’ll celebrate the birth of Jesus. May all of us who call ourselves believers do the same, and be captured anew by these profound truths.

Below I’ve included a link to a message by Dr. Jim Shaddix on the importance of the virgin birth of Jesus. Why does His birth matter so much? And why did He have to be born in such a unique way? I think the answers are worth an hour of your time, and I definitely enjoyed learning more about a familiar passage in Matthew.


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