I just got back from Nebraska to see a friend of mine who teaches in China. It is always a celebration when we get together because of the distance between us throughout the year. There was a celebration of the prodigal son when he returned to his family. We find many celebrations in our culture; birthdays, holidays, and graduations and yet other celebrations are described in the Bible.
Celebration can occur when the Lord delivers you from your enemies like in 2 Samuel 22. “David sang to the Lord” because his heart was thankful and the Spirit of God moved Him to sing. Celebration can also occur with restoration like in Job. He had lost everything in life but because of his faithfulness “the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10). One of the greatest celebrations that is still celebrated today is the birth of Jesus that bright night in Bethlehem. This celebration has taken dips and turns through our world but the truth of Christmas is made known in the hearts of men and women like Christina Rosetti and John Henry Newman.
Christina Rosetti wrote a poem title The Christmas Carol where the nativity is the theme. The last verse says this, “What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb, If I were a wise man I would do my part—Yet what I can I give him, Give my heart” (Foster, pg.310). Foster says this verse of her poem clearly depicts celebration and joy of the Christmas season. Newman had similar thoughts about Christmas, cheerful and joyful, because of the humbleness of Christ. He said, “No lot could be more humble and more ordinary than that which the Son of God chose for himself” (Foster, pg.328). Christmas is just one celebration that we, as humans recognize as important to gather together for–BUT DEFINITELY RANKED TOP ON MY LIST.
C.S. Lewis said, “what we have been told is how we men can be drawn into Christ—can become part of that wonderful present which the young Prince of the universe wants to offer to His Father—that present which is Himself and therefore us in Him (C.S. Lewis 1980, pg.200). With Christmas around the corner I think it is only appropriate to accept the wonderful present the baby in the manger was born for and ultimately what he died for. I would like to go further and to say if we want to indulge in the gift even more than accepting it, we should surround ourselves with Christ like attributes. That might require a few disciplines on our part, so, go ahead discipline yourself. I know I will.
With only three days until Christmas, I encourage us all to consider how we are spending our time, money, and service. God has given us everything and now we have the opportunity to give back and Christmas is a great season to start. Everyone waits until the new year to start something “new”, a new resolution, but I think it is the Christmas season that guides us into something new. A new born King. A new law. A new chance. A new light. So many things are new around this season and I urge my readers to consider this day, a resolution that will change your life forever! The resolution to accept the gift of salvation that is given to all.
Foster, R. (2000). Spiritual classics. New York: HarperOne.