Keeping it Real This Christmas
“I believe in UPS,” chirped my toddler brother as he took off to answer the door bell. He had heard my father playfully talk about Santa Clause. He had even seen a few packages addressed from Santa put under our large Christmas tree that was adorned with host of ornaments, red bows and candy canes. But as my little brother opened the front door, he was once again greeted with the appearance of a brown clad UPS man, holding cardboard boxes with large black letters. Although the recently arrived packages- as the ones before- would be hurried away to my parent’s upstairs bedroom to be transformed into glorious presents attired with ribbons, soft lace, and pretty bows that radiated light across room, my little brother was still aware of their source. He happily put his trust in the very plain but very real UPS delivery man.
We too must be careful not to become distracted from reality this Christmas season. Though Christmas stories are very delightful, we must not let the holiday become defined by the stories of a red nosed reindeer, or of a green Grinch with a heart two sizes small, or even of a miser who gives Bob Cratchit that much deserved pay raise. We must remember that the true Christmas story is about Jesus.
Baby Jesus was real just like you and me. He felt the cool damp air of the stable as it flowed across his tiny body. He could smell the freshly laid hay in his crib composed of a musty wooden manger. He heard the sweaty, mud splattered animals neighing. He was struck by the appearance of his first visitors, the shepherds, who were clad in dirty tunics that reeked from days of working under a hot sun. When Jesus was circumcised at the temple, he let out a blood curdling scream! And, he smiled and clapped when he saw the presents that wise men carried. Jesus was really human. The testimony of the shepherds, Simeon, Anna, the Magi and his earthly parents accurately reported the arrival of our Savior. But, what we know about Jesus does not end with his birth.
The apostle John noted this glorious truth in I John 1. He wrote that he and others had, “heard….seen with our eyes… [and] touched with our hands,” the grown Jesus (I John1:1). The apostles heard him lovingly converse with the rich young ruler in their guttural Hebrew dialect. They had seen Christ give life to Jarius’ sick daughter. They let large moist tears drip down their faces as Jesus died on the cross. But oh did they rejoice when they touched the red and purple stained bruises of the risen Jesus. They knew that Christ had come to save them! “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)”. The first witnesses told others about Jesus’ life, hoping that all might find forgiveness and eternal life in the savior who began his life that Christmas morning long, long ago.
Just as my brother recognized that his Christmas packages came from UPS, let us recognize that the true joy of Christmas is found in Jesus Christ our Savior.
“Joy to the World the
Lord has Come! Let earth receive her King!”
This article was first publish in First Baptist Church Fairdale’s advent devotional, December 2010.