Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Mid-Week Message - Don't Forget the Baby

"After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh."  Matthew 2:9-11 (NIV)

Christmas Day is over.  Soon the lights will be turned out, the trees taken down and all of the ornaments will be packed away.   Everything will be stored in garages, attics or storage units and be forgotten about until next year.  Wrapping paper, ribbons and bows that were so painstakingly used to make each gift beautiful will be wadded up, placed in garbage bags and thrown away.  Christmas music on the radio and holiday programming on television will cease and life will return to normal.  

Each year, this causes me to grieve.  All of the time spent in planning and anticipation culminates in hours.  My husband has a saying each year at the end of the long awaited day.  He says, "Another Christmas is in the books."  He's right.  The packages are opened, the meals are consumed and the visitors leave for home.  The memories have been made and it is time to focus on the future.  Soon it will be a New Year that will bring its own joys and sorrows.  We cannot stay in today.  

The most difficult thing for me to pack away each year is the Nativity.  Somehow it seems wrong to me to put the Baby Jesus in a box or bag to be hidden away.  I know it is just a symbol and that I am not actually packing away the Son of God, but I wonder how many people will continue to focus on Him when those symbols are less visible.  I am so grateful for the story of the three wise men from the east because they didn't give up following the star.  They sought the Lord until they found Him.  Many experts believe that Jesus may have been at least two years old by that time.  These men could have chosen at any time to stop and go home, but they continued their journey until they found who they were looking for and had delivered their precious gifts.  

Years ago, my husband suggested in church that we continue to say "Merry Christmas" throughout the year because the birth of our Savior is every bit as important in July as it is in December.  His coming is cause for continual celebration, just as His death and resurrection are.  It was at this point that we began leaving a Nativity figurine up all year in our home.  It isn't a large one but it is placed where we can regularly see it.  Beside it is a figurine depicting His death and resurrection.  This was a personal decision to daily remind us of the sacrifices made on our behalf.  

This year, as we all put away the Christmas decorations, I pray that we don't forget the importance of the baby that laid in that manger.  As the wise men continued to seek Him, so should we.  His birth was for all mankind, but it was also very personal.  He desires to be included in each part of our lives.  His love for you and me is immeasurable.  He gave up Heaven to walk among us and He didn't disappear after the day of His birth.  May we all remember His presence throughout each day of the year and may we all continue to bow at both the manger and the cross.  

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