Authentic – Christmas Gifts

I love Christmas. We try to make every week in the month of December something special at FBCO. This coming Sunday we’ll finish the marathon that is our run up to Christmas with a Candle Light Christmas Eve Service. Here’s a snapshot of what December has looked like for us:

  • 10 months of preparation
  • 6 months of practice
  • 2 weeks of construction
  • 4 days to setup
  • 6 nights presenting an original play, “As Time Goes By”
  • Over 1200 dinners served @ the dinner theater
  • 1 night of amazing singing and story telling with all the musicians of the church, “Christmas | Past…Present..Eternal”
  • 4 people publicly professing faith in Christ
  • 17 people baptized
  • Scores of people expressing an interest in knowing more about being a fully devoted follower of Christ
  • 2 hours to tear it all down and be ready for Sunday School the next morning!
  • And we’ve not made it to Christmas Eve yet!

It’s definitely a marathon. But it’s a marathon everyone is inspired to run. We’ve now reached the sprint to the end. Everyone is focused on cleaning up last minute details, mostly personal in nature, that lead to that moment when the wrapping paper will be shredded, surprises revealed, and holiday wishes adequately exchanged.

Frantic – sometimes that’s how December feels. All these things are great things. Every gift I give and receive a reminder of someone’s care for me or my care for them. Reminders that go by so fast. Only days from now we’ll be considering New Year’s Resolutions, how to celebrate Easter and dreading doing our taxes. December’s dizzying speed replaced by January’s brand new list of things to do.

While the content of our December activities today is nothing like the first Christmas the speed at which it passes is likely the same. I wonder how far into the pregnancy Mary was when Caesar’s decree made it to Nazareth. I wonder if after that night the shepherds sat on the hillside looking up at the stars anxiously awaiting another announcement. I wonder if the owner of the manger let them stay out of generosity or greed. Did Joseph have to pay taxes on two people or three?

On the morning of December 25th we will tear into the gifts we’ve so carefully wrapped, play with our new toys, sit down to dinner and by the 26th start thinking about heading back to work and what the new year holds. Mary and Joseph faced these same concerns, yet the gift wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger was so much more than an iPod, flat screen TV or new pair of shoes.

His birth would would bring death for every male child under 2. His life would bring truth to a world devoid of understanding. His Word would bring freedom to the slave. His legacy would change history, eternity…the world. And it all happened one frantic night.

Whatever gifts you give or receive this Christmas follow in the footsteps of the mother of Jesus. Don’t let these moments pass unnoticed. Cherish every one. And on December 26th look ahead to 2007 – with Christ in mind.

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

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