Christmas is a time of tradition and specific activities. We have certain trees we put up in certain rooms of our house. We have certain decorations we put on the trees and around the house. We have special programs at church and at school that we attend.
And beneath our Christmas tree is the small figurine of Jesus lying in a manger. It is set out when we put up the tree and begin decorating, and it remains there until the tree comes down. There may be times when presents and packages obscure our ability to see it, but it is always there.
It is a constant reminder of the purpose for celebrating Christmas. Christmas is all about the celebration of the gift of Jesus, the gift of salvation and grace from God.
When Mary learned that she would be the one who would bear the child of God, the Savior of nations, she rejoiced and sang praises to God. What did Mary recognize? What gift has God given to the generations?
In her holy joy Mary saw the working of God in the Christmas story. She saw that what God had done was a great thing. He had provided a way of forgiveness for all mankind. He sent His only Son to be the reconciliation between sinful man and the holy God.
As we celebrate Christmas we can so easily be distracted from the holiness of the occasion. We can allow the giving of gifts, the parties, the shopping, and the spending of money to get in the way of what is truly important. But at the heart of the holiday is the birth of Jesus.
And that birth was an expression of God’s mercy and love, not just for Mary and Joseph, not just for the people of Israel at that time, but a gift of grace for all generations of those who will accept the gift of Christ.
Let us not allow the activities of Christmas or the traditions of the holiday to get in the way of our gratitude to God. Let us recognize the tremendous love God has shown us through the baby given to save the world.
DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you keep Jesus at the center of your Christmas?
This concludes our 10-2 Grow daily devotions for the 2010 calendar year. We will resume the 10-2 Grow on January 3. From all of us, we wish each of you a happy and blessed Christmas.