You may not know it, but your home has a light over it. The Bible says that we, as followers of Christ, are the light of the world. We should be shining as bright as a city on a hill. The world needs our light. This Christmas there will be people coming to your house seeking love, food and good news. At Christmas our homes are the place where the nativity comes to life. I think back to the first nativity found in the gospels of Luke and Matthew. How Mary and Joseph handled that first Christmas amazes me. There are lessons to be learned from the first O Holy Night.
LESSON ONE – Expect Company.
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. (Luke 2:15-6 The Message) The shepherds showed up pretty much unannounced. I can imagine Mary did not have much time to prepare something good to eat or to even change into her special holiday outfit. I doubt the shepherds spent the night, as our family does on Christmas Eve, but that was still quite a “herd” just dropping by. I can even imagine she had to say, “Excuse me, fellows!” “I have to nurse the babe.” Even still, Silent Night, Holy Night.
Right now I am trying to figure out where everyone will sleep this Christmas. I can move Mack and Mark to the little room with the twin beds and Megan and Philip can have Mack’s room, but what about the baby? Joy and Michael can go to Mark’s room, but then he has to go to work. That’s okay! Then the grand boys can be on the “out-bed,” (That’s what they call the pull-out sofa.) and Ryley can have the small room. See where I am going with this? If I allow it, this could become a stressful situation. I know it can be inconvenient and a bit crowded with all the company, but look what we have to celebrate! Jesus is the one who makes all of this possible. He is the one who has blessed us with this large and crazy family.
LESSON TWO – Expect things to be a bit messy.
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:6-7) There were animals in the house/barn with Mary and Joe. I expect Joseph had a bit of shoveling to do and I’m not talking snow. Jesus was the focus of the visit. It helps me to remember that company, either expected or unexpected, is a good thing at Christmas, and I should not be stressed about my house. I am still finding Nerf bullets all over my house from last Christmas. Celebrations have a tendency to become quite messy. There will be toys and bullets, wrapping paper, boxes, dirty dishes in the sink and so much more. I have already made up my mind to be grateful for the opportunity for us to be together, and I will not focus on the state of the house. There will be plenty of time for that. It will be 2015 and I will be missing the chaos.
LESSON THREE – Make sure the presents mean something.
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:10-11) In my research on this subject, I found: “The magi came bearing gifts.” These were not gifts selected at random. Since the early days of Christianity, biblical scholars and theologians have offered varying interpretations of the meaning and significance of the gold, frankincense and myrrh that the magi presented to Jesus, according to the Gospel of Matthew 2:11. These valuable items were standard gifts to honor a king or deity in the ancient world: gold as a precious metal, frankincense as perfume or incense, and myrrh as anointing oil. In addition to the honor and status implied by the value of the gifts of the magi, scholars think that these three were chosen for their special spiritual symbolism about Jesus himself: gold representing his kingship, frankincense a symbol of his priestly role, and myrrh a prefiguring of his death and embalming (an interpretation made popular in the well-known Christmas carol We Three Kings. I do think the gifts had special meaning and so should our gifts. I shop for Christmas presents all year. In the spring a year ago, I found a beautiful oil painting of First Missionary Baptist Church where my daughter, Megan, was married. I bought the painting and gave it to her and Philip last Christmas, because it had meaning. I was going to give her a purse, but this was way better. I love the Christmas bundles we are offering this month. Look for them in this newsletter and www.firstplace4health.com. These are great gifts, with meaning and purpose, to help you and yours have a Merry Christmas and a healthy New Year!
I will never forget the Christmas I ended up babysitting the small child of some non-believing friends. It was not the most convenient time. I was bringing out the Christmas decorations and I unpacked the nativity. We sat on the floor and she opened the box and brought out all of the characters. I explained this one is a wise man, this one a shepherd; these two are Joseph and Mary. She holds up the little baby and says, “And who is this one?” She did not know! What a Christmas blessing I received as I told her about baby Jesus and how much He loves her. I am planning on lighting up my house this year with more than electric lights.
Let your light shine bright this Christmas.