What Is Christmas to Me?

My notes for a five-minute segment at the Hopewell Mennonite Church Christmas Program

Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the church
There was no tree a shinin’
Not a willow, not a fir, not a birch.

I don’t know the rest of the poem, but let me tell you more of what Christmas means to me…

  • Times together as families — special times
  • Bonus times together as church and school
  • Letters and pictures and cards
  • Struggling and stressing to know what to give to others
  • Stressing about juggling schedules and plans and revisions
  • Overkill of parties and programs, of events and activities
  • Sale upon sale after sale — and some extra-low prices on some things you actually need
  • Indulgence of the flesh — overindulgence, really
  • Eat, drink, and be merry
  • Performances and carolers
  • Pretty lights and manger scenes
  • Christmas trees, Salvation Army bell-ringers, and some fat chimney sweep with sandy claws (or something)
  • A special season for the party animal
  • Giving mostly to those who can give in return
  • Buying what you can’t afford for those who might not need or appreciate what you gave them anyway
  • Generosity
  • Expectations
  • Comparing — what I got vs what you got, what I gave vs what you gave
  • The poor feeling (what? intimidated, diminished, eclipsed, joyful?) at the (what? generosity, excess, happiness, satisfaction?) of the rich
  • Much money spent on entertainment and on supporting entertainers
  • Something for which I doubt the early church had an equivalent
  • A season of too much generous greed — Season’s Greedings
  • Merry Christmas!

For me, there’s Christmas and there’s Christ’s birth.

  • They’ve come to mean different things to me.
  • So let me tell you some of what Christ’s birth means to me

even unto Bethlehem

Nativity — the Navidad part of “Feliz Navidad”

  • Another step in the fulfillment of the promise of Genesis 3:15, the promise of a coming One who would bruise the head of the Serpent
  • Another part of God’s best plan for our redemption
  • The sacrifices of a mother and her husband…and the Child
  • The arrival at last of the Lowly Servant and the powerful Redeemer
  • Peace on earth; goodwill to men
  • A phase in the humiliation of God
  • The greatest becoming one of the least
  • A certain setting aside what was His — glory, equality with the Father, power, heaven
  • “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6)
  • And yet “His own received Him not” (John 1:11)
  • “The glory as of the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14)
  • When the Child came, “grace and truth came” (John 1:17)
  • The Word, the Almighty, the I AM, Jehovah — made flesh
  • The Creator in a baby’s body all His own
  • Emmanuel — God with us
  • ­Feliz Navidad!

I probably won’t get all that said tonight. I doubt five minutes is enough time. We’ll see.

Comment? Sure!

Above all, love God!
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