Today’s verse is Luke 1:30-33.
30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel[a] forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
And while this is a great passage, I have to be honest this morning. It frustrates me.
I understand how important it is to know the Christmas story. And I understand how important it is to know about Mary and Joseph and how events unfolded to bring Christ into the world. But it seems to me that we really only talk about it in December. And that frustrates me.
The Christmas story is something we should talk about and celebrate all year long.
Don’t you think the fact that we only really dig it out and read it out loud and share it and talk about it during December is the reason the world is tired of hearing it? In biblical Christian circles, it seems the Christmas season is the only appropriate time to talk about Mary and Joseph and the wise men and the shepherds and angels. Is it because we think it’s the only time of year that people will listen to it?
I don’t know. And maybe I’m being too harsh this morning, but why don’t we talk about Luke 1:30-33 any other time of year besides Christmas?
Come on, read it again. This is a big deal!
30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel[a] forever; his Kingdom will never end!”’
Can we even comprehend how huge this is? This is everything. This is the beginning of the fulfillment of prophecy. This is the beginning of our hope for eternity. This is the beginning of the end for Satan, our adversary.
You realize that the Bible would be moot without this, don’t you? The New Testament completes the Old Testament. Christ fulfills the Law. If Christ hadn’t come, all the Bible would do is condemn us. But Christ came to give us hope and the promise of a life beyond this broken world. He came to offer us a new life and friendship with God.
So why do we only celebrate the Christmas story at Christmas time? Why do we only celebrate the birth of Jesus in December?
If I remember right, early Christians celebrated the birth of Christ during the feast of Saturnalia in the Roman Empire so they could avoid persecution (any of you historical types, please feel free to correct me). And that’s the history of why we celebrate in December. But those of us in the United States shouldn’t have to do that anymore. We shouldn’t have to wait until December to celebrate the birth of Christ.
But it’s American culture to break out the Christmas songs and the manger scenes and the trees and the lights and the presents in December.
And I’m not complaining. I love this time of year. Christmas time is my favorite time of year, bar none. I don’t care if it’s cold and snowy and icy (or rainy and thunderstormy and balmy like yesterday . . . silly Kansas weather). I love Christmas.
But why can’t we have Christmas all year long? Why can’t we celebrate Christ all year long? Why don’t our lives reflect the joy of His birth every day? How can we think that celebrating His coming for a few weeks out of the whole year can do it justice?
People talk about having Christmas all year long, meaning that the spirit of Christmas (or the generic generosity that infuses the Scrooge types over the holidays) needs to endure all year long. And while that’s nice, there’s something more important to me than just being generous.
Christ is my Savior. God is my best friend. And if Jesus hadn’t come, I would be lost and alone and hopeless. Period. And to me, that’s ample reason to celebrate every day for the rest of my life. So why don’t I?
This year I may leave some Christmas decorations up after December 25. Because even after Christmas is over, I want to keep celebrating. I want to remember what Christ did even if the rest of the culture — both inside and outside of the church — says it’s time to move on to other holidays.
Christmas should be a lifestyle. It should be a year-long celebration of what Christ did for us. It should be an everyday remembrance of His birth and the hope He brought to our lives. It shouldn’t end on December 25.
So I don’t know about you, but I’m going to keep celebrating this year. And maybe people will look at me funny. But at least they won’t be able to ignore it. They won’t be able to say that it’s just Christmastime. Because if I celebrate Christmas during other times of year, they’ll understand that it means more than just decorating my house and wearing socks with jingle bells on them.