Updated: Jan 17, 2022
Dr. RB McFee
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It’s Christmas ….He came!
“4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David because he belonged to the house and line of David5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available to them.”
Luke 2:4 - 7
It’s Christmas ….He came!
Of course for most kids the ”He came,” inspires something akin to images from Clement Moore’s “Twas the night before Christmas,” and ….
Every Christmas loving child can remember the excitement, the anticipation for Christmas morning. Joyful anticipation….you just couldn’t wait for the big day. The expectancy was almost overwhelming; our little bodies barely able to contain the enthusiasm we had for that magic moment when we would wake up on Christmas morning and where our dreams of happy moments spread forth before us like a celestial blanket of unlimited possibilities.
Our hopes and fears through all the year rested on that day, and on the provisions of the benevolent figure known as Santa Claus. Too young to recognize he was the embodiment for the Spirit of Love and Generosity, and probably unaware over a millennium ago there was a bishop - Saint Nicholas - from what is now Turkey, who secretly gave out gifts to those in need.
For every parent, or child who has ever celebrated Christmas morning…those magical words “It’s Christmas….He came!” resonate, and bring back a flurry of memories.
Those of us blessed with having had a loving family can remember waking up my parents with those happy words It’s Christmas ….He came!
As parents, or someone who has filled in that role one year for some mentees, It’s Christmas ….He came! usually arrived after having spent the night assembling some toy, that was designed by the Jet Propulsion Lab, with instructions written by a translator at Cal Tech Da Vinci Code style requiring a mirror to read. Just into your third hour of sleep, the “Merry Christmas” greetings awaken you in that magic December 25th morning mixture of caffeine deprivation and joy.
Regardless of your age, and role in this reminiscence, the next moments are a blur as everyone races to the Christmas tree faster than Roger Bannister trying to beat his own record. From there looks of utter happiness, wide eyed grins, shouts of glee, make for a celebration of spirits united. It is in fact a joy to the world moment. Or at least that is how we remember it.
I’m reminded at these “think back” moments of the scene in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, how in fact he didn’t! As the narrator said, Christmas came. It didn’t matter about the presents or trees, the decorations or specialty foods. Christmas came in their hearts, and their spirits, and voices. They sang, they worshipped, they celebrated. The Whos of Whoville were joyous because “It’s Christmas….He came.” Because they knew who the “He,” was.
The other night I was reading Christmas Memories by Truman Capote. The story centers around a young boy (actually autobiographical) and his best friend – a distant cousin and woman in her sixties one gathers by context. As way of background, Capote was taken in by relatives at a young age not long before the Great Depression. It is Christmas Eve. They are poor as church mice. They aren’t expecting Santa or presents. They couldn’t sleep because of the eager joy of the day to come, and the blessing of each other’s company in total youthful abandon.
What about us today? Does the thought of “It’s Christmas….He came!” create the sense excitement it did when we were children? Knowing the “He” in our lives is Jesus, not Santa?
Put differently, are we as excited at the thought this is Jesus’ day as we were when it was Santa’s day? Too often we face Christmas with anything but the youthful abandon of unfettered, unashamed and unabashed excitement – pure joy – we did as children.
In the iconic story by Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” recall after Ebenezer Scrooge has been visited by the last of the three Ghosts of Christmas, when he awoke, his first concern was missing Christmas. Twenty four hours earlier it would have been merely a humbug day off he had to pay employees for not working. But once he started to understand the true meaning of Christmas – about a Man who made blind men see, and cripples walk – and about generosity of spirit, love, kindness, goodwill among people….Scrooge didn’t want to miss it.
It’s Christmas ….He came! And Scrooge didn’t miss it. He went to church, he shared good will, he gave of himself to others, he was generous. And it is said he kept Christmas all year long.
What about us? If we have been caught up on a form of Blue Christmas, darkened by loss, seemingly unaware or unaffected by the joy, the revels around us, it is not too late. Today all things are made new in Christ. Let Him work the magic of Christmas in your heart and mine. He came to redeem us, to heal us, to partner with us, to love us, to infuse us with joy, His joy, and a peace that is unique to Jesus and all those who love and follow our Savior.
Jesus – the word means one who comes to save. And every one of us needs to be saved from something – health issues, broken dreams, loneliness, loss of loved ones, financial challenges, family issues, past mistakes, the list can be lengthy. But that has been the reality of mankind since time immemorial.
Consider the shepherds keeping watch in the field that wondrous night - long before the angel came - were likely tired, underfed, cold, maybe even a bit scared or feeling lonely. And then It’s Christmas ….He came! All of a sudden their blue moments faded away to one of happy anticipation in seeking out that which the angel of God had promised. (Luke 2: 8 – 20).
Jesus entered a weary world 2000 years ago, and each Christmas He gives us, also members of a broken and weary world, the chance to reenter us, too.
Consider even our own childhood. Did our usually angst of youth intrude our Christmas? Heaven forbid! It’s Christmas ….He came! made us forget about our troubles, or helped us put them into perspective.
It’s Christmas ….He came!...and with it, we have the chance to receive the Greatest Gift ever in the Universe – God’s only Son – Jesus? Does our heart leap for joy the way Elizabeth’s baby did at the first encounter with preborn Jesus as the scripture recounts? Is our spirit lighter, happier at the thought we can be blessed by Jesus, we can be reborn in His Spirit on Christmas day?
It’s Christmas ….He came! May that promise God fulfilled 2000 years ago, and continues to fulfill come into our hearts and restore our joy in Christmas, and more importantly in the One Who truly is the Reason for the season….Jesus.
It’s Christmas ….He came! Is a call to worship, a reminder to celebrate, and a time to recapture our joy in Jesus and our relationship with Him.
So tonight as we celebrate the Greatest Gift of all time, let us take a moment and look to the skies with a different set of dreams, and expectations. Instead of looking for Santa’s sleigh, we look for Jesus’ Star.
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“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
It’s Christmas ….He came! Wishing you and your family if you are blessed to have one, as Fred might have said in A Christmas Carol “the Merriest of Christmases” to you. May God rekindle in all of us the youthful enthusiasm, the healing and restoration, the happiness and blessings of Jesus’ arrival, today, and every day from now on. And may His Peace that transcends all understanding, be yours, and mine from this day forward.
To quote Tiny Tim….God bless us everyone!”
And may we all sing quietly in our own company, or together as church, as family, as friends, just as the angels did 2000 years ago and I would guess every Christmas “Glory to God in the Highest,” knowing that Jesus is reborn in us …..