I am typing this one-handed, with a two month old trying to nurse himself to sleep after a marathon day of church, Christmas pageants and frantic packing for our trip home to see family.
Driving home from our church’s Christmas pageant tonight, my mind reeled with all the things I needed to get done in the two hours before I’d be too tired to function. (We leave for Iowa tomorrow morning and I will be lucky if I remember to pack both children.) While mentally listing off my must-do’s, I remembered, with a pang of remorse and disappointment, that I hadn’t done an Advent poem and here it was, Sunday night.
As we drove, Sparrow prattled on in the back seat about the Christmas cookies she’d eaten after the performance, Caleb started to fuss, having woken up to realize no one had asked if he wanted any cookies and I mentally rebuked myself for not taking even a moment to consider Christ’s birth during the hectic week. How pitiful to spend a week preparing for countless Christmas related activities while not considering Christmas itself! Instead, I mostly ran around like a chicken with its head cut off. Or, in my case like a mom/wife/friend/daughter/sister/human trying to do all the things on my list.
I’d made cookies and gifts and helped Sparrow memorize her lines and fitted wings onto tiny backs and led a bunch of congregational Christmas hymns but I hadn’t given a single intelligent thought to Christ and His coming.
Shame on me.
And then, while Caleb ramped up and Sparrow raised her voice to be heard over him, the thought I’d needed to have all week finally came to me: the story is real.
Yes, the angels in every Christmas pageant ever done wear tinsel for halos and clothes-hanger wings like ours did tonight. But there really were angels, a whole host of them singing glory to God and burning with a brightness that rivaled the sun.
Those shepherds, the once depicted by kiddos in cotton robes and fake beards, they were real and God announced the birth of a Savior to them in a field of hysterical sheep.
Mary & Joseph really rode on a donkey to Bethlehem, really had a baby in a stable, really wrapped him in cloth and laid Him in a manger.
And just like all those Christmas hymns say, the ones we sing mindlessly this time of year, He really is the Savior of the world, Emmanuel, God with us, Israel’s consolation, hope of all the earth.
The God of the universe really came to earth as a baby. To wage war on sin and death and sadness and loneliness and meaninglessness and thoughtlessness everything that has ever been wrong with the world.
He really came to set His people free. FREE.
Why? Because He’s madly in love with us. Us, who fail to love Him back. Us, who go days, weeks, a life-time, without even considering Him or His Lordship. Us, who are woefully undeserving.
The Christmas pageant is real, friends. It is a real story with life-altering, life-saving implications for all those who ever have lived and ever will live. The story is more true than any other true thing you’ve ever heard.
Joy to the world, the Lord really has come.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus.