“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” Luke 2:10-11
Recently, I was listening to WCQR-FM (one of our local Christian music stations) when the afternoon announcer, named Christian, told of his toddler’s misinterpretation of a familiar carol. Instead of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” his daughter sang “We Missed a Merry Christmas!”
Missing Christmas? That’s a little hard to do in America. For months now, stores have been decked with Christmas decorations and with overhead loudspeakers playing Christmas tunes. Radio songs, television commercials, newspapers, and major shopping websites all herald the launch of the seasonal shopping frenzy. The Hallmark Channel goes overboard on holiday programs, too.
But it really is possible to “miss” Christmas—if we’re not focused on its true impact.
At the first Christmas, recorded in the book of Luke, angels appeared to the shepherds in the fields. Their loud proclamation of the good news and “Glory to God in the highest” couldn’t be missed. Those herders left their sheep and ran to find Jesus in the manger.
But, what about all those other folks in Bethlehem, snoozing in their beds? I imagine most of them missed the whole spectacle—the angel fireworks, the bright star, the celebrating shepherds. If we’re not careful, we’ll “snooze and lose,” too.
For believers, yesterday’s worship service marked the beginning of Advent, a season of preparation for the arrival of Jesus’ birth. It sets our hearts on worshipping our Lord for the entire season, not just on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
Here are a few ways to avoid “missing” the real joy of Christmas this year:
- Pray through an Advent calendar—Download one from the internet or look for one in your bookstore. I like this printable one from Jodie Berndt, listing one attribute of God every day along with a Scripture verse: https://jodieberndt.com/diy-advent-printable-to-ignite-praise/ (See the photo below)
- Drop off donations to a food pantry—While you’re grocery shopping this season, add on a few non-perishable items to share at your local food pantry. Volunteer to help deliver food, too.
- Be a “secret angel” to someone—Got a “Tiny Tim” in your life who needs help? Or a “Scrooge” who could use a little joy? Add that person to your Christmas list, with a special gift. Tuck a Scripture, tract, or Bible with it. Send it without revealing yourself as the giver. Pray for your recipient.
- Encourage your postal/package delivery agents—Leave goodies at your front door or in your mailbox for those who deliver to your home. Add a message of gratitude with a Scripture verse.
- Go to church—If you’ve fallen out of the habit of attending worship, now’s the time to meet Jesus in a community of faith. ’Tis the season for singing, candle-lighting, caroling, praising, and shouting out the good news that Emmanuel is here—God with us.
If you “turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face,” as the old hymn goes, then “the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”* Let’s look past the glitter, lights, and clamor this year to stand beside the rustic manger in awe and wonder.
I pray that all of you reading this post will find this Christmas especially meaningful—you don’t want to miss it!
Lord Jesus Christ, how we love to celebrate your birthday! Fill our hearts with the same spirit of awe and wonder that the shepherds experienced when You arrived. Give us “Mary” hearts to ponder Your great love, “Joseph” minds to guard the sanctity of Your birth, and “shepherd” voices to share Your good news with the world! In Your holy name, Amen.
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© Copyright 2021 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
* Written by Helen Howarth Lemmel, 1922— https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Heavenly_Vision