We’ve almost made it. Despite the cacophony of voices and activities that vied for our time through the holidays, Christmas is almost here. For me, amid the hustle and bustle, it is helpful to have something to center upon as we reach the crescendo of Christmas Day. Here is my simple reflection for this year. I entitled it, “Best Christmas Ever!” Well, it is one way to share the story.
Do you have a favorite Christmas memory? Let me tell you mine.
Long ago (yes, in a land far, far away) a very special baby boy was born. He sure looked the same as any baby; he cried the same, and even smelled the same as babies often do. Some say the very day this Child was born, the whole world suddenly changed forever in an instant. That’s actually not quite right. The truth is that the world had been waiting for this Child for a very long time. The real story of the Child actually began long before he was even born. You see, this story is as old as time itself.
Here’s how it happened: Once there was a great God who created the whole universe. We really don’t know how He did it, or perhaps even why, but nonetheless, we know that on one peculiar speck of His vast universe, He made a particularly beautiful place. We simply call it “our world.” Surely you have seen, heard, felt, smelled, and even tasted some of the beauty of our world. It is easy to find. If you look for it, you’ll see beauty all around us.
But then, bad news came. Over time, this beautiful world became filled with darkness. In fact, darkness seeped into every corner of the world. I don’t have to tell you that our world is cursed with darkness all around us; I’m sure you’ve seen it for yourself. Sadly, our world is a beautiful, yet broken place.
Sadly, our world is a beautiful, yet broken place.
But listen to this: The great God who created the entire universe, really loves our little planet very much. I know it is hard to believe and impossible to fully explain, but God does not want our world to be broken. So here is what He did: He decided long ago, that at just the right time, and in just the right place, He would send His only Son to our world to heal and put things right again.
Think about this – the very Son of God coming to be with us to establish a glorious and everlasting Kingdom like the world has never known! This has been God’s grand plan since the beginning. It sure sounds like a wonderful plan, doesn’t it?
And yet, for reasons I cannot explain, countless years passed in our world, and God’s Son never came. As time marched on, it honestly seemed like God had changed His mind. But thankfully, He had not.
Legend tells us that a great and powerful angel arrived at the appointed time, in a seemingly obscure location, and told an unsuspecting young girl that she would have a baby who would be the One who fulfilled the long awaited plan of God. Can you imagine what this girl must have thought? After all of these years, her little baby would be the One to heal the world and to rule and protect all things. The angel explained that the Child would do mighty deeds in his life, and he would give the world just what it needed – the mercy of God Himself. The Child would grow up and shine light upon darkness and be the guide into everlasting peace.
Now here’s where the story takes a surprising turn. You see, this Child grew up and did miraculous things only the Son of God could do, just as the angel explained. But then, he did something totally unexpected: He left the world that he came to save!
OK, do not panic. He didn’t abandon us. In fact, he promised he would return. But get this: Before he left, he gave us some very important instructions about what we need to be doing. Yes, that’s right. Apparently, we have been given something important to do in his Kingdom. Can you believe that? The Son of God wants us (yes, you and I!) to participate in his work – to be people who shine light upon darkness and to guide our world into peace. And, better yet, we were even promised that God’s powerful Spirit would be our faithful guide.
So here’s something worthy to center upon this Christmas: Realize that you are part of this great story of history. Your life really does matter, and so does mine. And as we work together, to be about the joyful work of God and share the story of His great mercy and love with others, we participate in a grand chorus heralded throughout the ages. As the words of a beautiful song explain:
We are called to live His song.
To live His song, to be His music.*