Summary: In all the rush and stress of the holiday season it's easy to lose sight of the 'big picture' of what Christmas is really all about. In this series we ask (and answer!) the question of "What's Jesus Got to do With Christmas?"
Knowing Him - An Every Day Christmas - Matthew 1:18-23 - December 11, 2011
Series: What’s Jesus Got To Do With It? - #1
December 17, 1903 is an important date in history - though most people are unaware that anything significant happened upon that day. Yet the events that transpired would eventually change the way in which man perceived the world in which he lived. For two men in particular, the events of that day were the culmination of a lifetime of dreams, hard work and perseverance.
And history was decided by something as simple as a coin toss that day for, of the two men, only one could be the first. Together they looked intently at the coin as it came to rest. Without another word, the man who had called it right turned and climbed into a contraption the likes of which the world had never seen before. It was a machine he and his brother had designed after years of painstaking trial and error but this was the day that was going to make it all worthwhile. Many had told them that what they were trying to do could not be done, but they refused to take such comments to heart. Instead they tackled one hurdle at a time until they were certain they had worked through all the things that could possibly hinder their dream.
They started up the engine that they had designed, and built, themselves, and twelve seconds later it was all over. Twelve seconds – less time than it takes me to tell you about it – but they had done it. They had succeeded in taking a dream and making it into reality. Their names will be familiar to you - Orville and Wilbur Wright and, in case you hadn’t figured it out yet, what they had just achieved was the first flight of a heavier than air, aircraft. They couldn’t have conceived at the time that what they had accomplished that day would eventually lead to the development of commercial airliners that could transport 100’s of people at a time around the world and beyond that to space flight itself. Still, though not able to perceive what the future held, they were justifiably excited by what they had accomplished.
Finding themselves in a celebratory mood they sent a telegraph to their sister Katherine which read like this: “We have actually flown 120 feet. Will be home for Christmas.” Katherine hurried down to the local newspaper office and showed the editor the telegraph. “He glanced at it and said, ‘How nice. The boys will be home for Christmas.’ He totally missed the big news – man had flown!” (Daily Bread, December 23rd, 1991)
Well people haven’t changed much in the intervening years. We still tend to lose sight of the big news amidst the little details of life. Nowhere do I see that as clearly as I do come the Christmas season. By the first of November Christmas decorations and merchandise begin to appear on the store shelves. From there it snowballs into a crescendo of advertising and activity that continues right through December 25th and into the New Year. People are busy putting up lights and trees and decorating their yards, buying gifts and planning for the holidays. Lives that were already busy are stretched even further as we try to work in all the parties and activities that are taking place. And somewhere in it all, amidst all the reindeer and Santa talk and the mistletoe, we tend to miss the “Big News,” the “Main Event,” as it were.
Picture this scene: Christmas is just a day or two away. There is a young mother frantically running from store to store taking care of all the last minute details. She has with her, her three year old son, and somewhere along the way she suddenly realizes that his chubby little hand is no longer clasped in hers. In a panic she retraces her steps from store to store until at last she finds him standing with his nose flat against a display window. He’s gazing intently at a nativity scene. Hearing his mother’s voice calling to him, he turns and looks at her with innocent glee: “Look mommy! It’s Jesus – baby Jesus in the hay!” With obvious indifference to his joy and enthusiasm she grabs his hand and pulls him away saying, “We don’t have time for that!” (Adapted from, The Wonder of Christmas, by Glenn Pease) “We don’t have time for that!” How very true those words are in so many lives today – we attend the party but we forget to invite the guest of honor. And she’s not the only one who’s missed the main event, who doesn’t have time for the Good News of Christmas.