Friday, December 25, 2009

A Perfect Christmas...

It's what we all hope for, right? A perfect Christmas. Everyone "home" for the holidays. The perfect gifts. The perfect dinner. The perfect weather. Everyone getting along. Perfect traditions. Everyone healthy. Everyone happy.

Sounds like a dream come true, but how often does it all happen? Someone in the family doesn't make it home...or you couldn't afford that certain gift or it was out of stock...or the turkey is dry and you-know-who burnt the pumpkin pie...or slush or sunshine instead of a cold snowy day...turkey making people tired and grumpy... Auntie's in the hospital...Susie has the flu...or that sad look in Granny's eye hasn't gone away.

We wish for a perfect Christmas. We expect it and we stress ourselves over making things perfect. But think about the first Christmas. There wasn't a lot about it that was perfect, was there? I doubt Mary thought, "Perfect!" when she found out she was giving birth in a stable. Joseph probably shared her sentiment. All the political unrest at the time? Not so perfect either.

But one thing WAS perfect: God sent a Savior to all of us.

Well, I had a college professor who shared a little devotional thought just before our final exam one year. It was the BEST Christmas devotional I've ever heard. I sat there listening, totally hooked, but after the final, I wrote down notes. I can't find them anymore, so I won't do justice to what she shared with us but I want to share what I remember.

Rather than worry and stress over making things perfect, look with me for a moment at the original Christmas story. We all know the basics of Jesus being born to Mary in a rugged manger, etc. But let's look at more than that. Let's look at what the angels had to say.

They appeared months Zechariah (the husband of Elizabeth who was Mary's cousin). The angel came to tell him that Elizabeth, who was barren, was going to give birth to John the Baptist...who would pave the way for Jesus. When the angel first appeared to Zechariah he was afraid. And the angel spoke, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard."

Six months later, another angel, Gabriel, came, this time appearing to Mary. Gabriel greeted her and Mary was troubled and wondered at his greeting. So Gabriel said, "Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God."

Then came Joseph's turn. He was troubled over Mary's pregnancy and had decided to divorce her quietly. But an angel came to him and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife...."

Finally came Jesus birth and there were the shepherds not far from his birthplace. "An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.'" Then they went on to announce Christ the Savior's birth.

Over and over, the angels appeared to you and me. And each time the people were afraid, worried, scared. And every time the angels told them, "Do not be afraid." Words of assurance..."your prayer has been heard"..."you've found favor with God"..."I bring you good news: A Savoir is born!"

So what do you say? Why don't we lay down our worries...or better yet, give them up to the same God who sent those angels (and His Son) to people like you and me.

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear's third verse says...

"O ye beneath life's crushing load, Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road And hear the angels sing."

Merry Christmas, everyone. I pray that all of you can find rest and peace during this season. God bless you all. I love you!

I'm sorry it's a bit late. It was supposed to be my Christmas Eve post, but a virus tied up my computer.