Legend has it that Satan held a Christmas Party for all his demon friends. At the end of the party a little demon said farewell with a hearty “Very merry party! Merry Christmas!” To which Satan replied, “Keep it Merry. Make them focus on the Merry. We don’t want people to think about the rest of it, just the Merry.”
Christmas is such a busy and often stressful time of year. This is particularly so in countries where mid December also signals the end of the school year. So many activities finish, celebrate, award and showcase their achievements at this “holiday” season. For families there is yearend ballet recitals, school presentations, Scout award ceremonies, final meetings for Bible Study, worship teams and leadership groups. With combination of summer and public holidays many work places close for a week or vendors take leave, making Christmas a common deadline for many work projects. Then there are all the Christmas activities – pageants and carols and work parties, family gatherings and street parties, shopping and budgeting and the horror of forgetting someone. And for my family there are 4 birthdays in December alone, all before Christmas. It is a stressfully busy time of year.
It’s so easy to do our Christmas thing and focus on the Merry not the Christmas. The temptation is to think we know the nativity story very well and don’t need to go over it again. That we understand the true meaning of Christmas and there is no more to learn.
One of my most sacred Christmas traditions is to spend the days leading up to Christmas considering the story of Christ’s birth again. Each year I try to look at it from a different perspective. I meditate on it. Read it in different gospels and versions. Do a little research. Chat to friends about the part of considering this year. Mull on it, chew it over, add colour, smells and sounds, making it real.
Each year I gain a new appreciation for the Christmas story. It is so worth the time and effort involved. Despite the busy, the stress, the fun and the festivities, this is what Christmas is all about – Jesus Christ coming to earth.
My encouragement to you today is to forget the Merry for a little while today. Take time to consider the Christ part of the story. Open your Bible and read the story in Matthew or Luke again. Ask Jesus to reveal something new to you. And then, like the best gifts, share your revelation with those around you.
Which part of the Christmas story speaks the most to you this year? Please share with us in the comments below.
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