In the vivid imagination of many young children, high above the decorations and colorful holiday lights, a jolly man in a red suit is pulled through the sky by a team of flying reindeer. Youngsters go to bed in fitful anticipation of the next morning. It’s Christmas Eve!
Yet today my mind wanders across time and space to a very different scene. The animals are restless. A mule brays. A cow bumps the stable door. An anxious husband stops pacing the makeshift delivery room floor to console his love. Suddenly a newborn baby sputters with His first breath. With a spirited cry He announces His own arrival. The long-awaited Son has come!
On Christmas morning this year, children will leap out of bed and rush downstairs. Paper and ribbon will soon threaten to push everyone out of the room. Will we let it push out the Son of God too?
In all the excitement of the holiday, let’s draw attention to the Savior. Like John the Baptist, let’s point others to the One who came into the world but was not recognized by it (Jn. 1:6-10). May the greetings we speak, the cards we send, the presents we give be motivated by our love for Jesus. After all, He is the real reason for the season!
The world drowns the carol with its sleighbells—
Giftwraps the manger—shoves it out of sight;
Yet though the darkness deepens while the din swells,
The Star of Bethlehem still shines as bright. —Gustafson
The best gift in the world was wrapped in a manger.