My Christmas Story
In my earlier years of walking with the Lord, I did not celebrate Christmas because all the elements of the celebration came from pagan Rome. But one day as I thought upon the fact that Jesus was actually born during the fall Jewish feasts, it suddenly occurred to me that if he was really born in September, then that means he was conceived in December. So I took a closer look at that, and I realized that there IS a Jewish feast in December, Hanukkah! Hanukkah is called the “Feast of Lights.” And Jesus is “the light of the world,” (John 8:12). Could it be ….? If Jesus was conceived in December, if he, the Light of the world was conceived on the Feast of Lights, could I actually join other believers in celebrating Jesus in December? In December, not only believers are celebrating Christ, but unbelievers as well. The celebration of his birth, his conception, his coming into our world has touched the entire earth. It’s the greatest season of celebration the world knows, and it’s all because of Jesus. As I mused on this subject some more, I saw something else that just delighted my heart. The Jewish holy days are often 7-day feasts. It occurred to me that even the Christmas celebration could be said to be a 7-day feast, from the 25th through the end of the year, and then the following day begins a new year – just as the birth of Christ in my heart so long ago began not only a new year for me, but a new life altogether. I think the power of the story of the babe in Bethlehem has defeated the power of the deceptions with which Satan has tried to muddy it. So I’ve attended some carol-singing, and my heart has been touched more deeply than at any other celebration I’ve ever taken part in. I rose up and rejoiced in all the worship directed to Jesus during this season. I noticed as though for the first time, the glow, the atmosphere, the wonder of the season, as I did as a child. Well, when I was a child, Christmas was all about me. But now, Christmas has become all about my Savior. And finally I’ve been able to join in all the glory of the season. No, not with trees or mistletoe or materialistic money-spending, but with a reverential joy and thanksgiving that not only has the Light come into the world, but he has come into my heart. So I’ve come full-circle, from the self-centeredness of my childhood Christmases, to the forsaking of all that out of a true love for the Lord, and then back again as he has enabled me to see him in that impoverished room in Nazareth as his mother said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word,” (Luke 1:38). It’s not about a day, it’s about the Creator who condescended to become Emanuel, God with us, in order to provide for us the greatest gift a human could possibly receive, the gift of pardon, and of the presence of Emanuel, the light of the world who truly became the light of my world. It’s ALL about him!