In New York’s Hayden Planetarium a special Christmas holiday show was enhanced by an added feature. A giant lollipop tree was projected onto the planetarium dome, surrounded by a horizon filled with brilliantly colored toys which came to life and cavorted to the tune of “Jingle Bells.” At the climax, a huge figure of Santa Claus faded out in a snowstorm, and the star of Bethlehem broke through into a sky that produced exactly the Palestine sky on the night of the nativity. The designer of this show may not realize that he dramatically staged the supreme Christmas message our world needs to understand: The recovery of the lost meaning of Christmas. This is not said in any criticism of Santa Claus; the effect must have delighted the hearts of all the children who saw it, without doing violence to their love of Bethlehem. But for adults, it is a tragic loss to substitute “Jingle Bells” for “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” and a lollipop tree for the manger of Bethlehem. The instinct is right to fade out these things in the light of the Christmas star. It is about God’s incarnation that the angels sing–God with us. – Robert E. Luccock in James W. Cox, The Minister’s Manual: 1994, San Fransico: Harper Collins, 1993, p. 218.
“So, they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words in her heart.”Luke 2:16-19.
As rich and amazing as the pure gospel message of the Christmas story is, it is just as easy to drown it out with the trappings of the secular winter holidays. It is easy to forget the impact this birth had on the lives of simple folks like the shepherds. It forever changed their lives because they were the heralds of the good news that salvation has come to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. They saw this miracle for themselves. They were active participants in the events of that incredible night and are forever part of the nativity account.
These societal outcasts were told by God “you matter”. This savior is not just for the wise and learned, but for everyday folk. Because of this universal savior, the shepherds and we included are getting to spend Christmas “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.”
My prayer for you this Christmas season is that you rediscover your joy and the true meaning of Christmas. For unto us is born this day a Savior, Jesus Christ.
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