"She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord'"
"for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel."
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."
"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons."
"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed."
Somehow the season has become cluttered with Santa Claus, Rudolph, Frosty, and the Elf on the Shelf, among other things . Many hours and dollars are spent shopping for gifts. These things can obscure the real story of Christmas. Jesus has become a part of the holiday rather than the rightful focus.
This year, as always, we will buy a tree and Julie will do a great job decorating it. I love the smell of a real tree and the beauty of one tastefully lit and ornamented. We will watch White Christmas and Holiday Inn. Julie will bake some really awesome desserts. But over the last few years we have reconsidered how we spend our time, energy, and money during the Christmas season and we've made some changes. Last year was the most relaxed, enjoyable Christmas season I can remember. It wasn't simply the act of eliminating things, but that the changes allowed my mind and heart to give more thought to and meditation on the birth of Jesus. Time spent with family was more about people and less about things.
What will your Christmas look like this year? This is where I could go on a lengthy rant about all that is wrong about how Christmas is celebrated these days, and I would be justified in doing so.
But I would ask you to simply and quietly reflect on the Scriptures above and close with one more:
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon is shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Now that is something to celebrate. Every day of the year.