Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- December 25, 2011
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”…” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.'” Luke 2:11, 13-14
The birth of Jesus is meant to be a grand celebration. The angels in heaven, accompanied by a celestial choir, kicked off Christ’s coming out party. It was something to behold. It was not a passive holiday greeting. It was instead a bold and jubilant “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” It was merry because there was a festive spirit in the air. Eternal God had come to meager man. Our Creator came face to face to correspond with us and care for us. The celebratory scene in heaven cascaded toward earth and crashed upon unsuspecting shepherds. God started his gleeful disclosure with those whose labor illustrated His heart. Shepherds knew shepherding. So now the Great Shepherd Jesus had come. The flock of His fellow man could dance a merry jig, because Mary was with child. So, this is another rip-roaring righteous reason for followers of Christ to exclaim “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”
Eventually, Mary was overtaken by gratitude to God for being chosen by Him. But in the beginning of God’s revelation to her, she experienced disbelief. She felt she did not deserve this type of recognition or honor. But she later gave in to God. It was not about her. It was about her baby, Jesus. He would save the world from their sin and she would serve as the surrogate mother of God. Once she took all this in, she suddenly exploded in praise and adoration to God. Mary’s manifesto toward being chosen by God still shouts, “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” 2,000 years later! How many more opportunities do you and I have today to exclaim gratitude to God? He has chosen us. Therefore, by faith, Christ indwells in us. This intimacy with the Almighty drives us to our knees in appreciation and awe. Because of this heartfelt joy, our life and lips cannot help but announce to a wandering world, “MERRY CHRISTMAS! MERRY CHRISTMAS!” and many more “MERRY CHRISTMASES!” Yes, you too, can experience a “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”
We can be merry because of Mary. Mary’s submission and obedience has given mankind the opportunity to be merry. “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” for the grateful follower of Christ is like breathing. It is as natural as saying hello or goodbye. It is the vernacular of the forgiven.
So, be valiant with your gracious greeting, “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” Indeed, trying to refrain a Christian (especially on the birthday of Jesus) from being merry is like telling a child who just received a favorite toy to cease from joy and laughter. It is not possible. It is ludicrous to think one or many can stop Jesus-followers from celebrating his birthday with a “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” We are merry Christians because it is a “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” We are jolly, joyous, and jovial because we are merry. We are cheerful and effervescent because we are merry.
You cannot take Merry out of Merry Christmas any more than you can take Thanks out of Thanksgiving. It is un-American. It is dishonoring to the one for whom it is intended. Therefore, be merry, so that indeed your “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” is authentic and inviting. It is good to not take “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” for granted, because it reminds us to not take God for granted. Be merry this Christmas. He is.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a grace filled life!
Taken from the December 25th reading in the 365-day devotional, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”
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