Tragically, Christmas in the West has been demoted to the ultimate consumer holiday. The depravity of this modern rendition of Christmas is exhibited in the chaos and violence of Black Friday shopping. Is this what we, and Christmas, have been reduced to?
STOP! Take a deep breath!
Let’s step back from the fast-paced fury of credit cards, shopping malls, electronics, and plastic trifles. Let’s stop fighting over things that don’t matter, to reflect for a moment on the things that do: the forgotten meaning and neglected Person of Christmas.
The glory and wonder of the hope of Christmas is rooted deeply in history. It was foretold by the prophet Isaiah: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel,” Isaiah 7:14.
Read aloud the message recorded in the Gospel of Luke! Savor the words of this divine visitation, the humble spirit of Mary and the resulting conception of a long-promised child, the Savior of the world.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Thus was conceived the child of hope, the Prince of Peace, Immanuel – God with us!
The child named “God with us” is now with us.
Imagine this: the One who created the mother’s womb, lived for nine months in a mother’s womb. This is the incarnation. This is the Word made flesh and dwelling among us.
The Hebrew word racham is translated both “womb” and “compassion.” The God of compassion entered the world through the place of compassion; the portal through which the eternal God entered history, through which the Word was made flesh, was the glorious reality of a young mother’s womb.
Please take time to reflect on this until you begin to gain insight into the depth and beauty of these words.
During the long nine months of her pregnancy, what must Mary have been thinking about? The divine visitation of Gabriel? The wonder of how she, as a virgin, could have conceived a child? Why is she to name him Jesus, Savior?
There was a moment in time when singer-songwriter, Mark Lowry, would ask Mary a series of questions about her son, as we see in the lyrics of the hauntingly beautiful song, “Mary Did You Know?”
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God
Mary did you know, Mary did you know, Mary did you know
The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb?
Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am.
Take a moment to listen to the haunting rendition of Mark Lowry’s song by Pentatonix. [If the video does not show click here.]
And the word became flesh and dwelt among us. What a wonder these words are! What hope they bring into the world. The Christmas hymn “Joy to the World” captures this.
Joy to the world, the Lord has come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing …
Just buying more stuff is a pitiful way to observe Christmas. Let us step out of that small, demeaning space to celebrate something bigger than the universe: the incarnation of the Creator God. Let us join the shepherds and magi worshiping at a manger. Savor the words of this magnificent Christmas hymn. For a moment, let them take you to the real space, the true story of “God so loved the world that He” invaded the world through a little baby.
A very joyous Christmas to you and your family.
- Darrow Miller