How things have changed since that first Christmas.
Our dreams, our wishes, and our expectations have nothing to do with the actual events of that day.
When you dream about Christmas, what smells come to mind? Live Christmas trees, cookies in the oven, cinnamon and nutmeg in Wassail, turkey and dressing, hot apple pie. Yule logs burning send the aroma of sweet smoke into the air.
When you close your eyes and dream about Christmas, what do you see? Children laughing, lights on the tree, houses decorated inside and out, presents and wrapping paper, ribbons and bows, Christmas cards. And of course, snow and snowmen with mittens.
When you dream about Christmas, what do you hear? Children laughing as well as children crying from overdoing and over-stimulation. Burl Ives singing “Frosty the Snowman,” Gene Autry singing “Rudolph,” and somebody singing “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” We still hear carols, but mainly at church.
What were the aromas that met Mary that first Christmas night? Stinky bodies (many people were in Bethlehem and there were not enough bathing facilities), a stable that needed cleaning (since the inn keeper was too busy to get it done before the young couple was given their room for the night), and damp hay.
What did Mary see? Dirty animals, a young, loving but frightened husband, a bed of straw, and rags in which to wrap her beautiful newborn baby.
She heard the braying of the beasts, the noise of the people from the inn, the crying of the babe, the heartbeat of her husband, the singing of the angels, and the adoration of the shepherds.
God observed then, as He observes now. He watched as His only Son—the Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace, the Savior of the World—was born in a stable. He watches now as we celebrate. And He always smiles through His tears at our feeble attempts to make Christmas what it really is.
This year, let’s celebrate His birth—truly celebrate His birth. Let’s change our dreams, wishes, and expectations so that we have a true celebration of the birth of the Son of God.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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