Summary: As people of faith we are called as the angels called the shepherds that first Christmas night. We are called to go in search of the Christ. But hand in hand with that, we are called to serve in the name of Christ. When we do that we serve the Christ,
If you ever sit down and talk with our youngest son about the subject of Christmas gifts, I am sure it wouldn’t take long for you to hear all about his little adventure one Christmas a few years ago. He would also probably tell you how mean his parents were. He may not have liked it, I know he didn’t, but my wife and I sure thought it was fun.
Ever since our boys were very small, we have had a tradition in our house that they could open one present early. Usually, we would let them open something Christmas Eve night. That particular year, our plan was to go to Pasadena after Candle Light service and spend Christmas with Cindy’s parents. Because Christmas Eve fell on Sunday that year we planned to open all of our Christmas on Sunday after church, but before the evening service. But, we let him open one gift that morning.
For several months he knew that his “big” Christmas present was going to be his senior class ring. It would have been almost impossible to keep that one from him. A couple of weeks before Christmas the ring came in. I picked it up and my wife wrapped it and put it under the tree. It wasn’t, however, wrapped in the ring box that it came in. It was wrapped by itself and put in the pocket of a pair of blue jeans, which were also wrapped and put under the tree. She even went so far as to tell him that the ring was wrapped and under the tree. He didn’t buy it. He knew that the ring box wasn’t there. In fact there was no box small enough to be his ring. I guess he forgot that small things will fit into much bigger packages.
A week or so before Christmas, after listening to our son go on endlessly about how his ring wasn’t under the tree, we took five nuts, as in nuts and bolts, all tied together by a pipe cleaner and wrapped them up in the ring box and put them under the tree. Also inside the box was a note that said, “If you think your ring is here, you are nuts. When he saw that box, he knew beyond any doubt that his ring was in that box. And, that was the box he wanted to open before going to church that morning. He wanted to show it off on Sunday morning.
Needless to say, he was quite disappointed when he didn’t find his ring in that box. And, I will admit, his parents do have a bit of a mean streak in them.
That day my wife and I forced our son to go on a bit of a treasure hunt. He was in search of a special Christmas treasure, a treasure that is probably worth very little to anyone besides him. I actually had to tell him to go try on the blue jeans, also the first present he opened later, before he actually found his ring.
So it is with many people over these next few days. They open their Christmas presents in hope of finding a great Christmas treasure. Some will find that treasure, others will not. Some may even go away sad and disappointed, never seeing anything that looks like treasure.
But, Christmas is more than just a time of the year when we all get together and exchange gifts. It is more than a time of colorful wrapping paper, bright lights, gifts, and way too much food to eat. Christmas is more than a pageant of angels, shepherds, wise men, and the Holy Family. It is more than just a story that we drag out once a year, blow the dust off of it, and begin to read, “Unto you is born this day…” though for many that is a treasure in and of itself. It is a treasure because of what it tells us and it is always a joy to hear. Still, the real treasure has to be much more than all of that.
Christmas calls for something from us. Christmas calls for verification of what the angels were telling the shepherds. Christmas calls for us to investigate for ourselves what the angels reported. We need to see and experience the child’s birth. For us to find and to know the Christmas treasure it must become a personal experience and must result in obedience. True Christmas must result in a change of life. After the announcement of the angel, the shepherds started out on a hunt for the treasure of the Savior. They were told he was born in a manger in Bethlehem, but whose barn would they find him in. They had to inquire, they had to search in order to find the real treasure of Christmas. The same is true for us today. Where will we find Christmas’ greatest treasure?