Sunday, December 25, 2011

Celebrate Bigger

It's incredible how crazy the Christmas hustle and bustle gets. Swept into a whirlwind of crazy shopping trips where you have to fend off a parking spot, to endless hours spent in the kitchen baking and cooking and eventually washing all of the dishes you just dirtied. There were parties to go to, gifts to wrap and cards to be stamped and mailed out. All of this anticipation building, growing, giving birth to a type of excitement we long for the rest of the year.

I too fall in the category of seeking out the Christmas excitement. I baked, cooked, cleaned, mailed cards, wrapped presents and went to my own fair share of parties. Yesterday, the Hubs and I joined 5.4 million other travelers who'd take to the air to find their final Christmas Destination. I expected to find grumpy security guards, wanting to finish their last minute shopping or gift wrapping. Maybe a disgruntled passenger, irritated at having to fly the day before the Big Day, Christmas. Instead, everyone seemed to have been swept away by the excitement of the Big Day. Regardless of age, race or religion, everyone could feel the almost tangible excitement and buzz as we traveled home to my parents' house.

As always, when the five sisters along with family and friends are re-united, the volume increased and the laughter begins. The excitement of the Big Day could be felt in conversation, eating dinner and even as we sat around the living room talking and catching up on the last year, you can't help but catch the contagious excitement that It was almost here.

Now, at 8:01am on Christmas morning, it has arrived. The Big Day. All of the preparations are done, everything is under the tree and we wait for our family and friends to arrive to begin the celebrations with us. The anticipation of something special is finally able to give birth to celebration as this Big Day begins.

Yet, this anticipation is not something new. It began so long ago and it's significance is so much more than baking, giving presents, throwing parties and sending out a Christmas card.....

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

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 David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 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 for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, 

and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived. (Luke 2:1:21 NIV)

Today we celebrate something a lot bigger than what goes on within our own homes. We celebrate something a lot grander than the best present we could ever buy. We celebrate the fact that God sent his son, his only child, to earth so that every human being would have an option for life. We each have the opportunity to live, not being bound by our own sinfulness. This Christmas, as the Big Day begins, don't forget there is something a lot bigger that we are celebrating. 

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