Christmas is hands down the most magical time of the year (clearly I’m Elf in this picture, which is fitting since I’m short and “smiling’s my favorite”).
I’ve always thought that, but each year my amazement increases. I’ve spent Christmas in Texas, South Dakota, Indiana, Switzerland, Paris, and Chicago. No matter where I am, it’s magical.
There’s something about fresh snow on the ground (Texas kinda lacked that…) and all the lights that makes Christmas just seem different from any other time. Sure, you could argue that Christmas is being commercialized and now it’s all about the gifts and money. But if you look closely enough, you can still see the beauty and be filled with wonder and awe.
Everyone has different reasons for why they like (or hate) Christmas. My reason for loving Christmas is this: anything can happen.
At Christmas, there’s just this sense of “anything can happen.” People get a little more spontaneous during Christmas…maybe it’s that “Christmas spirit.” Click here to see the now famous WestJet video and you’ll understand. Movies tell us this is the time of the year that you declare your undying love to that person who had “no idea.” Because if you can’t be honest at Christmas, when can you? (Technically, you can be honest at any time of the year. If she’s gonna reject you in March, she’s gonna reject you at Christmas. But ignore that little detail.) The point is, people feel like this is the time to be bold and brave and generous. This is the time to do something amazing and unexpected. This is the time to make a shocking and unbelievable declaration of love.
And it is. Because that’s what got this whole Christmas thing started.
God made the first Christmas magical.
He declared His undying love to people who had no idea they could be recipients.
He was bold and brave and generous.
He made a shocking and unbelievable declaration of love.
He gave us the gift of Jesus.
That nativity you have set up in your house? It’s not just a cute “Christmas-y” decoration. It happened.
God decided to send His one and only Son (Jesus) to the world. And each part of this story whispers: “anything can happen.”
He decided to use a young, but willing, virgin girl named Mary to carry His Son.
A virgin carrying the Son of God. Anything can happen.
He decided to have the King of Kings be born in a manger, among animals. Anything can happen.
He chose to send “lowly” shepherds to welcome His Son into the world. The “wise men” came later. Anything can happen.
God became flesh and dwelt among us. Anything can happen.
His Name was called Immanuel, for God is with us. Anything can happen.
At this point, you may be feeling warm and fuzzy inside (or thinking this is ridiculous), but don’t miss this:
The impossible happened. Because with God, all things are possible. Anything can happen.
Could any of us, in our wildest imaginations, come up with a plan like that? Would any of us have been bold enough to even imagine that maybe the God of the universe would come to earth in human form, as a helpless infant? That this infant would grow to be a man–God in flesh–who loved the unlovable, dined with the outcasts, healed the untouchables, and challenged the religious? That this Jesus, who spoke the universe into existence, would remain silent as His accusers brought false charges against Him? That this Jesus–fully God and fully man–after living a perfect life, would allow Himself to be verbally abused and brutally murdered on a cross? That this Jesus would hang on the cross and, instead of asking God to kill His murderers, cried “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” That this Jesus would accept the punishment for our sin and suffer the anguish of having the Father turn His face away for the first time ever? Anything can happen.
Would we have ever come up with that? I could barely type it without getting chills. That’s impossible. God would never do something like that. Why would He want to save people who hate Him? Why would He love us while we murdered Him? Although none of us were physically at the foot of the cross, our sins were placed on Him. Every lie, every piece of gossip, every evil thought…Jesus felt them and suffered for them. He died the death I deserve. I crucified Jesus. You crucified Jesus. And He let us. Anything can happen.
But friends, the story doesn’t end there. This same Jesus, crucified and buried in a tomb, rose from the dead on the third day. Now, I’m sure I have skeptics reading this. You could maybe believe that the other stuff happened. But a dead man coming alive? Ridiculous. I encourage you to re-read that list above. I’d say what happened to start this story is more crazy than how the story ends. GOD became MAN. That’s amazing. A God who would love us enough to do the unthinkable in order to restore a relationship with a world who hates Him…this God can surely raise Himself from the dead. And in doing so, He makes us, we who were dead in our sins, now alive in Christ.
So friends, that is why I love Christmas. Because in the midst of the fresh snow, bright lights, crazy sales, frantic gift-wrapping, and Christmas carols is a baby in a manger who reminds me that anything can happen.
The impossible not only can happen, but it did.
And that makes Christmas the “most wonderful time of the year.”
God’s grace in my life today:
Because of His grace, the King of Kings is my Savior and friend. I have direct access to the God of the universe. I was dead in my sins, and now I’m alive in Christ. There is such freedom and joy in knowing Jesus personally. As always, I’d love to introduce any of you to my Jesus. Don’t miss the real joy and wonder of Christmas this year: Jesus. And for those of you who don’t believe in God or don’t believe God could love you, let me say: He’s real. He loves you extravagantly and unconditionally. A few thoughts for you to ponder:
“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”
“The loneliest moment in life is when you have just experienced that which you thought would deliver the ultimate, and it has just let you down.”
“God exists whether or not men may choose to believe in Him. The reason why many people do not believe in God is not so much that it is intellectually impossible to believe in God, but because belief in God forces that thoughtful person to face the fact that he is accountable to such a God.”
-Robert A. Laidlaw
“Merely having an open mind is nothing; the object of opening a mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”
“What comes into our minds when we think about God, is the most important thing about us.”