We’ve all seen the countdowns, “100 days until Christmas, 6 weeks until Thanksgiving,” retailers creating urgency to buy gifts, pressure to adorn your home with decorations and host the picture-perfect gathering. It can be overwhelming and exhausting to see your to-do list growing longer and longer while your patience shrinks smaller and smaller. For too many years I have found myself getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season that I lose sight of the true meaning.
Last Christmas did not go as planned. Instead of spending the day with loved ones enjoying a feast of all the traditional trimmings surrounded by beautifully wrapped gifts, sweet conversation and laughter, I spent Christmas morning in the emergency room. I woke up at 3:00 AM to my lips so swollen it looked like I had plastic surgery. A couple hours and a few doses of Benadryl and steroids later I was released and headed to pick up my kids from my family. Upon arrival, my daughter threw up all over my sister’s living room floor. Merry Christmas to us. Needless to say, we did not have the kind of holiday you would see in a commercial or on a Pinterest board.
And yet, Jesus himself was born in the humblest of circumstances and it changed everything. The very start of our redemption story and reason to celebrate has humble beginnings.
“And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12
The birth of Jesus didn’t take place in a palace surrounded by lavish gifts and crowds of people awaiting his arrival. He was born in a manger. Fireworks weren’t bursting in the sky with celebration horns blowing. There was a single bright star and angels praising.
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:14
My friends, as we prepare our hearts for the holiday season, let us remember our humble beginnings. Resist the pressure to have it all and embrace the One whose birth changed it all forever.