|My friend complained to me one day, “Christmas is wonderful, but quite frankly, I’m tired of the arranging, the shopping, the visiting, the hosting, the wrapping, and the decorating. When I was a child, none of this ever concerned me. But now that I’m old, well…I’m just tired of being in charge of Christmas!”
I know the feeling. It seems the holidays aggravate our need to control and arrange. Daily life is hectic enough. The responsibilities of managing holiday moments and staging special memories sap the strength out of the best of us. Whether it’s a Charlie Brown Christmas or a Martha Stewart Christmas, it all seems to be a lot of work. And even more so when you add the complications of celebrating in the midst of a global pandemic!
What a contrast with the first Christmas. The announcement of Jesus’ birth, though dramatic and brilliant, came with no preparations on the part of the shepherds. Mary and Joseph did not whip up a banquet or deck the halls of Bethlehem. No invitations were written. No gifts purchased. No programs arranged. Just a birth. And just a midnight visitation by obedient shepherds.
No one but God was in charge of Christmas the night Jesus was born. Salvation had been prepared before the foundations of the world. God’s sovereign hand worked in the details of history so all would be fulfilled as promised. He arranged for the willing servant Mary, the miraculous birth, and the angelic announcement. All that remained for the shepherds to do was to go and see what had happened. They left rejoicing, telling everyone the good news.
Before this season starts, take time to see with your heart what God has done in sending Jesus. Reflect on his preparations before you take any responsibility. Celebrate the season before you control it. Meditate on the wonder of his incarnation before you manage it for everyone else. Let go and you will rejoice in what you see.
Lord, Christmas belongs to you, not me. You’re in charge as much now as you were in olden times. Let me see as the shepherds saw, full of wonder and joy.