If you’re a parent of small children, right about now, you’re probably wishing you could get another hour of sleep, having been awakened at the crack of dawn by excited little ones, ready to dive into their Christmas goodies.
Remembering my own childhood, Christmas morning at the Wright household began before the first light of the new day.
My three brothers and I would tiptoe to the living room to see if Santa had come, and he always had.
Wide-eyed, we would dive into the array of toys and assorted goodies. It was always easier for me to tell which presents were mine, as the only girl.
A pink piano, baby dolls, Easy-bake Oven… That was Christmas!
We all had roles in the church Christmas pageant, as well.
At about four years old, my role was to sing “Away in a Manger,” as my favorite baby doll lay wrapped in a manger onstage.
As they tried to get me to come up and sing my Christmas song, shyness took over and I refused, so they moved on to the next performance, then the next, then the next – occasionally revisiting, to see if I had overcome my stage fright enough to step up and sing. I hadn’t.
My hand was forced when an older girl, probably about six, was finally asked to come up onstage and sing the song I couldn’t. As she took the stage, she decided to ad lib a bit, so she picked up my doll from the manger to cradle as she sang.
My doll. My song.
It lit a fire under me, because without prompting, I charged the stage, snatched my doll with one hand and shoved the little girl out of the way with the other. Who needs music? I immediately launched into an acapella version of the Christmas classic that brought the house down.
Ok. I made that part about bringing the house down up. I remember Mama hiding her face behind her white-gloved hands. Daddy seemed kind of confused. He’d been half-dozing through most of the program and the sudden gasps and chuckles from the crowd had disturbed his slumber.
Whatever the case, I made it through my song. It was the final act of the program and a fine close to our Christmas service.
That was Christmas to me, as a kid. Presents, pageants, fun, and wonder. I always knew about the virgin birth and baby Jesus, but it took some spiritual maturity to really lay the importance of the day on my heart.
Our Father God, unwilling to be separated by sin from His creation, came to this world in the flesh, as His only begotten son, Immanuel. God with us.
He was the only baby born whose ultimate promise to the world was to die for us.
It sounds so somber and depressing, but it’s the exact opposite.
So great was the love of an almighty God for us, there was no price too high. Our worth to Him is immeasurable.
There is a scene from a childhood favorite that delivers the Christmas message so perfectly (And yes, I know someone talked about this, earlier).
I’ve watched this sweet classic every year since I was a child. First, as a kid, then, as a mother, now just because I love it so. However, it took a recent article (and I have no idea where I saw it) to point out something that I’d missed every time.
As Linus is speaking, he’s holding his ever-present security blanket. Anyone who has watched any of the Peanuts movies or read the Sunday comic strips knows he never lets it go. Not willingly, at least.
As he quotes Luke 2:8-14, there is one point where he drops his blanket.
It was the message of the angels to the shepherds that night, and it is still the message from God to us, today.
Fear not. He is with us.
Fear not. He brings to us real security, not found in wealth, things, or other people.
Fear not. We are worth more to Him than we can fathom in our hearts or minds, and He has made a way for us to overcome the world.
The meaning of Christmas is fear not, because when we stop being afraid of the things in this world and we accept our own place in the heart of the Creator, we can know the peace and joy that comes from being the child of God, and we can extend that out to the world around us.
The Christmas message should grow in us, not just once a year, but all year long.
Merry Christmas, to the rest of my RedState colleagues and to all the readers!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 NIV