On the day before Christmas, the first Christmas, thousands of years ago….
Joseph traveled to Bethlehem with his wife. He moved with caution over the roads. His mind filled with thoughts, concerns, fears, excitements. The baby would come any day. Could he find a safe place in this new town? How would Mary do with the birth? How would he care for the Savior of the world in his own home? He nervously prayed that God would give him strength and wisdom – that what the angel said would remain true.
Mary, oh Mary! She truly felt great with child. Jesus weighed heavily on her internal organs as she and Joseph continued mile after mile. Oh, a kick – or was it a punch? maybe a head butt! “What would this baby look like? How will he feel in my arms? What will the birth be like?” she wondered. Oh, a hiccup – and, ah, the tightening of the stomach. The feeling of urgency started to become overwhelming. The time was close. Maybe tonight? Or tomorrow? But, surely soon. Missing her mother, or any other familiar woman, she quietly prayed for strength, grace, and courage.
The shepherds? The shepherds sat in the field watching their sheep, just as they had done every day for the past few months. It was grazing season, after all. They gathered together for dinner. After watering the sheep and moving to a safe pasture for the night, they began discussing plans for the next time they were in town. One after another joked about the most exciting thing being a nice hot bath or perhaps a meal cooked by someone else or maybe interacting with a lady. “Cause nothing spectacular happens to shepherds!” they laughed before drifting off to sleep.
The wise men of the east gathered together a few of their star gazing supplies. Tomorrow night would be perfect for studying new star formations. These men were preparing to go to the top of the highest hill nearby to chart current celestial movements. Sounds exciting, but they’ve been working on these sky maps for nearly a year. They were nearly done with their current project and were looking forward to a new project soon.
On the day before Christmas, this Christmas, 2010…
The last minute shoppers are running crazy trying to find the perfect gift, or any gift, for their special someone.
Children are counting down the hours until presents.
Families are gathering together.
Thousands are traveling.
Many are lonely.
Cookies are baking.
Music plays and songs are being sung.
Times sure have changed since the first Christmas.
But what about you? Are you going about your normal life, waiting for excitement? Angels appeared to the shepherds. The star shown for the wise men. But, GOD Himself came in human form for YOU! Christmas isn’t just about that little babe in the manger… it’s about the God of this Universe, the Creator and Sustainer of life, arriving to live a perfect life and then die, bearing my sins.. and your sins… and rise again to conquer death.
As you enjoy this special day, remember why we celebrate it. Remember that when this year’s festivities are all over, that God still lives and is the reason for the season.
Merry Christmas, Everybody!!