Christmas Comes Every Day
21 Dec

Christmas Is Coming Every Day

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Our family has a manger scene we put out each year when we decorate for Christmas. The pieces—Mary, Joseph, Wise Men, Star, and assorted animals—are attached to a display platform. The baby Jesus is a separate piece that is stored in a silk pouch. The idea is to take the baby out of the pouch late on Christmas Eve so that he is lying in the manger when everyone wakes up Christmas morning. More often than I care to admit, we get so busy with all of the Christmas festivities, we forget about Jesus. In fact, we often find Jesus still tucked away in his silk pouch when it comes time to pack up the decorations. It’s not so much that we pack away Jesus for eleven months out of the year. We never take him out in the first place.
 
That story makes for an easy transition into a familiar line like “Keep Christ in Christmas.” You know, Jesus is the “Reason for the Season” so we have to be sure we make room for him in our hearts. And those aren’t bad ideas, but the fact of the matter is Jesus is already here—whether I take the baby out of the pouch or not. Christmas is not up to us. It is not about what we do. Christmas is all about God and God’s creation altering gift to us.
 
What gets lost in all of the cultural angst about “the holidays” is that there is absolutely nothing we can do that will enhance God or diminish God. God is God. We are not. The miracle of Christmas is that the holy and righteous creator and sustainer of all things comes to us as one of us. The good news is Emmanuel has come—and continues to come. God is with us indeed.
 
The first chapter of Luke’s gospel tells of the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary. “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.”
 
Notice God was the one who reached out to Mary, not Mary who went searching for a hidden God. All that was asked of Mary was that she say yes to God’s presence in her life. And she did. “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”
 
Just as it was 2,000 years ago, it is today. God comes to us where we are, as we are. All that is asked is that we say yes to God’s presence in our lives. And as it was for Mary, so shall it be for us, “…for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.”
 
Merry Christmas.
 
 
This essay first appeared in the December 21, 2014 issue of the Opelika-Auburn News.

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