Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Christmas Thought

When I was small, perhaps 4 years old, I remember quite vividly helping my mom wrap the gift I had picked out for my dad for Christmas. It was a unique gift that only he would appreciate. I was giddy with the anticipation of getting and giving it to him. I sure didn't buy it. I didn't even really pick it out... but I did delight in the act of giving it to my Father who I loved so much! I wanted to surprise and share the joy of giving SO much with him. 

I proudly rounded the corner with the wrapped gift in my hands and said to my daddy with a grin in my one dimple, "You will NEVER be able to guess what I got you!!!"

With out much thought he tried to guess a very random guess, "Um... a popcorn popper?"

I was shocked. I was deflated and I promptly burst into tears... he guessed it!

I was crushed and my gift to my daddy was no longer a wonderful surprise. My dad laughed, then immediately felt like a big jerk. We snuggled and I am sure shared some popcorn! I felt love and delight again as my dad tried to explain that he really hadn't known and he would still enjoy the gift I had gotten him, even if he had guessed correctly.

This story went down in the history of our family as one of the greatest holiday mishaps of my childhood... Now we just laugh about it and take joy in those special moments and the humor of the events!

How much more is our God like this? There are no surprises to Him, but he still takes great delight in the gift of worship we give. It isn't that we can actually GIVE any thing to God, it is ultimately about us experiencing and participating in His glory! 

When I think about the origins of Christmas I undoubtedly go to the first person to really revel in Christ-mas-ness... Mary.

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
and holy is his name.
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

~ Luke 2:46-55 ~

This is Advent, this is Christmas!
A daughter taking delight in her Father who gives good things to His children!
That is really ALL Christmas is about. 

Christmas is not a mandated feast or fast, like found in the Old Testament. Never once are we told in the Word to observe a time of celebration of the Incarnation. Many faithful brothers of the past never did. So is Christmas a flawed, worldly, culture-based celebration? Yes... it can be... and No... it isn't.
We all know Christmas can be a flawed self-motivated seeking of more of the world around us. Popcorn Poppers and all!

However, Christmas CAN also be an act of worship prompted by the Spirit of God. Just like Mary's prayer and song of praise... it was TO her Father... no one else. Similarly, our Christmas' can be TO our Father and Him alone. Christmas can simply be children, coming to their Father with arms lifted up in praise and wonder at the manger throne of God! We don't "have" to celebrate Jesus' first coming, in December or any other time of the year (that is a freeing thought!), but we GET to if we are drawn to do it out humility and thanksgiving at the amazing provision that was laid in a manger on our behalf and with anticipation of our Rescuer coming in clouds in the future!

This is Christ-mas. Christ our Messiah! 
Christ our Savior and Redeemer given as the greatest gift we could ever receive!
Our child-like desire to share in the glory of that moment!
This is why Christmas exists!

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