It may not come as a shock that there is much buzz around here at Christmas time. We’ve had a great season of Advent leading up to tomorrow’s Christmas Eve service where we get to light the Christ candle representing the arrival of God in human form in Christ. We’ve had the opportunity as a fellowship to bring ourselves together to support families within our community with food hampers through the local high school. We’ve also been able to serve others in other parts of the world through bringing in funds to supply a way of life for people in Haiti.
All in all, it’s been a very encouraging season of Advent this year and so it continues. I had the privilege of speaking with a wise man from SBF recently, and in one of our brief conversations about life we spoke of the uniqueness of Christmas. There are many holidays celebrated by many in our society throughout the year, religious and non-religious, positive and effectively frightening, but there is something about the nature of Christ that is unique from the rest. Yes, one might rightly observe that Christmas is unique because it is a commemoration of (arguably) the most unique event in the history of humanity. One might also rightly suggest that the uniqueness comes from God Himself, because He has left the lasting impression of His own life on this earth through Jesus’ life and teaching and now through His Spirit in the lives of believers. What has struck me since this conversation was just how we still silence ourselves because of the arrival of Christ.
I know this isn’t across the board and recent years have seen an upheaval of tradition, but we still typically see the crazy pace around us draw back to a simmer while many either gather with families or find their own traditions. Even those who don’t celebrate Christmas are part of this magic as stores shorten hours or shut down entirely, schools take vacation, families find themselves together. Airports are packed and ticket holders gouged because this is one of the busiest single seasons for travelers, why? Because we stop what we normally do and step out of it. We become silent, in a sense, and it’s a ripple effect of that little child.
Sociologist, psychologists, and maybe even historians may come up with vastly different explanations for these behaviours, but the fact remains, even the busiest of schedules draw back this time of year, even if only for a moment. Whether we recognize it or not, we are influenced by the arrival of Christ. Think about that for a moment. With all of the hustle and bustle that tends to come along with Christmas (today’s Christmas style that is), there is the notion that we still stop, like the shepherds, to worship the King.
Luke 2 tells the story of Mary and Joseph making their way to Joseph’s hometown for the census, and the baby arrives in a stable, his arrival accompanied by a host of angels telling shepherds nearby of his arrival. The shepherds bowed down and worshiped him. They left their livelihood for a moment to be present with the King. This is an image that strikes me today, just like (as Luke says) Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. I’m pondering today. With all of the tremendous effect Jesus had and has on this world, there’s a subliminal effect that we exit our normal at the presence of his arrival.
So I’ll be considering this year how these traditions, my family, my experiences during Christmas are due to the arrival of Jesus, even those things that wouldn’t normally take my mind there.
How do you see Jesus’ effects lasting?