How grateful we all can choose to be this day. Another Christmas has arrived. We live in a country where we are free to openly celebrate its true and original meaning of peace and joy. Hopefully this day finds people feeling the spirit of Christmas and sharing it with family and friends. We may be tired from the busy bustle of preparations such as decorating, gift shopping and special food, but it should be a satisfied feeling that we did it to make the season special for those around us. While we might be glad that the excitement is over, is the true intent also forgotten when we toss the tree out the door or hoist it into the attic? For believers, what is the part that we need to keep with us throughout the coming year? Certainly it's not Santa, but is it just Jesus in the manger?
Christmas Day is the perfect time to think about its meaning and how it can impact our lives in the future. The author W. Smart, in a work called "Christmas Classics," simply puts forth how we may think of Christmas at three different levels. The first level is the "Santa Claus" level. It's a fun stage with shopping, pretty packages, excited children, parties and plenty of good food. We usually love every minute of it. However, how long can it last? It's too intense to maintain and eventually the needles fall from the tree and toys become old hat. Only so much rich food can be eaten and the need for dieting begins and decorations are put away. It's a part of Christmas we leave behind.
Yet another level of Christmas, a higher level, is what we might call the "Silent Night" level. It's the story of the birth of Christ so beautifully told in the Book of Luke in the Bible. This sacred level of Christmas brings glad tidings from Bethlehem with the manger and shepherds. But as W. Smart asks, how many times can one sing "Silent Night?" That night alone, or keeping Christ in the manger, can't satisfy our needs and will leave us feeling empty.
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. (Luke 2:12)
It's the third level of Christmas that can be celebrated each and every day. It is called the "Adult Christ" level. Although Christ needed to be born to fulfill His mission, it is not the infant that brings lasting peace or joy. It was the adult Christ "who reached out and touched the untouchable, who loved the unlovable, who so loved us all that even in His agony on the cross He prayed forgiveness for His enemies." The adult Christ gave His life willingly and was the perfect example with the invitation to follow Him. As scripture says, as we follow Christ, we will find everything that matters.
So, as this Christmas Day passes, think about what levels have been celebrated. The first is fun and the second is sacred, but it is the third level that can last all year long. We will not grow tired from it. It is a gift we can accept and share with others over and over in true Christmas spirit.
Make it a special week with family and friends, Mary and Rosamond
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