Christmas presents. Christmas (canned) music! Christmas crowds!! Christmas trees!!! Christmas cards!!!! Christmas dinner!!!!! When will it all end?! (Boxing Day!) "Enjoy the festive season," we are told. And yet much of it does more to add grey hairs to our head than a smile to our face. Christmas Day almost seems a let-down after the frenetic activity of the weeks leading up to it.
It's funny, but the first Christmas came amidst similar activity. At the time it was caused by a census which required people to return to their home town. Bethlehem was so busy that all the accommodation houses were full. A young married couple expecting their first child could find no room to stay. They slept with the animals where she gave birth to a special child - the Son of God.
Many people were in Bethlehem at the time, but for one reason or another, very few recognised this tremendously significant event taking place in their midst. The Bible records one or two, and I'm sure there were more, but how many missed it, and why? The reason may well have been that they were too busy in the business of the day to recognise the presence of God in their midst. I pray that for us this Christmas, there is time to recognise the presence of God, the real reason for Christmas.
December 12, 1994