When I was a child Christmas for me was all about a jolly fat man in a red suit (a.k.a. Santa) who had a post office, a workshop and a stable located in a frozen white snowy covered tundra called the North Pole. The post office was the hub, where children from all over the world sent their request letters letting Santa know what they wanted for Christmas. Next was the workshop, which was busting at the seams with little elves who worked tirelessly all year long to design, engineer and manufacture the made to order request for toys they received. Finally the stable, this was home to a team of flying reindeer including one with an incandescent nose. The sole purpose of the North Pole’s existence was so that once a year the elves could load up Santa’s sleigh with all the toys, hitch up the team of flying reindeer and take to the night sky delivering these toys to the deserving children everywhere. Every child’s dream!!
As the years past my belief in the jolly fat man slowly faded and what I was left with was a Christmas where I tried to find meaning in decking my halls with boughs of holly, donning all my gay apparel so that I could fashionably rock around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop, making a list and shopping for it twice, all the while secretly hoping to get run over by a reindeer to put me out of my misery! Lastly let’s not forget that awkward moment when the hippopotamus you were expecting is “not quite” what you had anticipated……
Not to surprising, I became less and less enthusiastic about Christmas. In fact it was starting to provoke feelings of anxiety which ultimately lead to me not wanting to celebrate Christmas at all! I no longer wanted to deck the halls, don any gay apparel, attend any Christmas hops and that hippopotamus I wanted was now a holiday destination so I could escape the celebration of this dreaded holiday!!!
However that all changed one winter morning when I got in the car and pulled out of the garage. The sun was up and I was reminded that it had snowed the night before ….. there is something so beautiful when light reflects upon a blanket of fresh fallen snow, untouched by man. The world looks so pure and full of wonder, its almost magical. Once my eyes had finally adjusted to my surroundings, the song on the radio came into focus. It was Bing Crosby singing Do You Hear What I Hear …….
(you can skip the lyrics if you’re familiar with them already)
Said the night wind to the little lamb, “Do you see what I see? Way up in the sky, little lamb, Do you see what I see? A star, a star dancing in the night with a tail a big as a kite, with a tail as big as a kite.”
Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy, “Do you hear what I hear? Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy, Do you hear what I hear? A song, a song high above the trees, with a voice as big as the sea, with a voice as big as the sea.”
Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king, “Do you know what I know? In your palace walls, mighty king, Do you know what I know? A Child, a Child shivers in the cold – let us bring him silver and gold, let us bring him silver and gold.”
Said the king to the people everywhere, “Listen to what I say! Pray for peace, people, everywhere, Listen to what I say! The Child, the child sleeping in the night, He will bring us goodness and light, He will bring us goodness and light.”
When the song ended I was left with that ever present voice echoing inside me: “Do you know what I know? Do you know what I know?” …….. Now, this may sound ridiculous, but honestly for the first time in my life I finally understand the true meaning of Christmas! When I was an atheist I was always aware that for Christians, Christmas was a celebration of the birth of Jesus but that’s as far as my thought process ever went. The only reason I celebrated the holiday was because I got time off work and that’s what everyone else was doing. Putting up a Christmas tree, getting dressed up, exchanging gifts, spending time with family and friends ….. that was Christmas. I didn’t get why they were hurt when society tried to “take Christ out of Christmas” and why they preferred Merry Christmas over Happy Holidays ….. what’s the big deal? It wasn’t until that moment that I was able to put all the pieces together ….. so now, this is what I know……
God, the creator of the universe, created man. Man sinned against God and brought suffering into the world. Which ultimately resulted in our separation from God and loss of eternal life. Then God created rules to show man that no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t follow them to gain eternal life on his own. In order to redeem us and restore mankind for eternity, God did what we can’t do and only He can. God became human, just like us through the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. He chose to walk amoung us so that we could get to know Him and put our faith and trust in Him. Then whosoever believed in Him would be provided the way, through His death and resurrection, to not only escape the punishment for our sins but have life and have it in all its fullness on both sides of eternity as He originally intended.
So there it is, the story of Christmas …… the birth of a Saviour ….. the story of Hope. Now that’s something to celebrate!
Merry Christmas Everyone!
His for sowing
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