A few days from now and we will celebrate, as what some poems, songs and largely the population says, THE “most wonderful time of the year”. How exciting it is to celebrate CHRISTmas Day, indeed!
When I was younger, I used to think that this season is meant for gifts, sumptuous food and the likes. Christmas Day for me was merely a tradition — one that incorporates decorating our home with lights, enjoying the sounds and sights as well as the sumptous food cooked at home. I even thought that this day was only meant for kids alone (such selfish thoughts when I was a child, haha!)
I eventually outgrown the feelings of excitement during this season. Back then, as a growing adult, I used to think that Christmas was a season of traditions bounded by a lot of responsibilities:
What gifts would I give my “inaanaks”? What sort of menu would we have for noche buena? How would we decorate our home? What theme would we have? How many parties would I attend to? How much would I have to spend on gifts? A little bit crazy, isn’t it?
Then again, I came to a point when I realized that more than anything else – the things that keep me “busy” and anxious about – are not necessarily the things that matter. There is more to life than endlessly having a list to check and re-check after all.
I came to know the LORD back in 2009. From then on, Christmas became more meaningful and not just a frantic, hyped up, stressful season. As I grow more older and learned that intrinsic values are more important than extrinsic ones, and know the real reason why I celebrate this day, I became more grounded on my thoughts and plans. I learned, in my heart, the core of this celebration — that is JESUS CHRIST.
Most of the times, we tend to remember the “what’s” of this season, rather than focus on the “Who”. Christmas Day, most often than not, became an excuse to be more extravagant, more profligate and more prodigal in our spending habits and the likes.
I learned, in my heart, the core of this celebration — that is JESUS CHRIST.
Last night, I went to a simple Christmas party with some friends and met some students as well. The menu was not entirely lavish nor were the gifts they received. Yet, I could see the joy brightening their hearts. In the simplicity of that party, God, as if, spoke to my heart about His humble birth.
In the Book of Luke, Chapter 2, Ceasar Augustus ordered every citizen to register. I could imagine the influx of people going “each to his own town” (verse 3). How difficult it might be for Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem with Mary giving birth any time soon. As such, “6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”(Luke 2:6-7, English Standard Version, emphasis mine)
Imagine, Jesus being born in such simplicity! The King of kings was wrapped, not in soft, rich clothing, but in swaddling cloths and was laid, not in a warm bed, but in a manger. Such humility that Jesus Christ showed as He entered the world of men! Moreover, his birth was witnessed first hand, not by royalties, but by “shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” (verse 8) as an angel heralded “11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (verses 11-12, emphasis mine) then a multitude of angels singing:
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
– Luke 2:14, ESV –
Yet, more than being in awe of such heavenly sight, the shepherds “16 . . .went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.” (verses 16-18) The Scriptures also told us that, “the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.“ (verse 19, emphasis mine)
In this maddening world of great technology, busyness became an advent of excuse to miss out the most important things in life. I realized, as I was reading this story, God will show Himself to those who are willing to seek Him and to see Him. In the extravagance that this season seem to offer, are we willing, like these shepherds, to, as if, “leave the flock” by magnifying WHO really matters this season? Are we willing to also tell others about the Good News that has come to this world? Are our hearts prepared to worship, glorify and to praise God not just because of what we have seen, or what God has done but because of who He is?
God will show Himself to those who are willing to seek Him and to see Him.
Christmas season is not about the lavishness of this season, nor the grandiose efforts we put into it, but in the realization that in all these things, there is Someone who matter above them all — that is having Jesus Christ and Him being the center of why we celebrate these things. Nothing else matters; everything else is but a reward. It will not be Christmas without CHRIST.
Thank You, LORD Jesus Christ for coming from heavens to earth. Thank You for being our greatest gift! Thank You for bringing Light in this world full of darkness.
It will not be Christmas without CHRIST.
To my friends from here and abroad, a joyful and peaceful (advance) Merry CHRISTmas to you!