Looking back over all of the holiday traditions of my childhood, I would have to make the statement that the reading of the real Christmas story was the most meaningful. It wasn’t even a topic of discussion: whether Mom and Dad would tell us about Santa and leave it at that or if they’d combine that with the story of Jesus’ birth (or either/or).
There was no such thing as Santa vs. Jesus in our household.
Sure, all four of us (my siblings and I) knew about Santa; we all knew he wasn’t real because of how my parents talked about him. Jesus was the only thing that mattered at Christmas.
I looked forward to plenty at Christmas (preparations started in early November)
Getting a new Christmas dress
Attending Christmas services
Singing in the pageants
Playing Mary (only one year) or an angel in said pageant
But on Christmas Eve, my mom would sit in her rocker with all four of us gathered close – my brother and I on the floor and my younger sister and baby brother on her lap (up to a certain age) – and would read us the Christmas story from the books of Matthew and Luke, every year without fail (Matthew 1:18-25, 2.1-12; Luke 1.26-38, 2.1-20).
This quickly became my favorite tradition and those memories stick with me. I’ve long since grown up and left home, but that tradition is alive and well in my own home.
Yesterday was Christmas Eve. I didn’t have to attend services anywhere as I had gone out the night before. I curled up on a floor pillow with my Bible in my lap and read the Christmas story aloud, just as she did so many years ago.
I’ll admit that it is sometimes a difficult read in the fact that I’ve read it so many times, it’s easy to fall into going through the motions. I do my best to make it a point to read it with fresh eyes and God has surprised me each time I’ve made that choice. He’s brought light and truth to segments of the story that my heart accepts. Last night was no different.
While I’m still processing that, I’ll leave you with this:
Ponder what “Immanuel – God with us” means for you as you read the Christmas story with fresh eyes this year. Try it. Pray over it. You might be delighted and filled with wonder over what God reveals to you.
© Anita J. Brands. 2013. Website: https://authentictruthseeker.wordpress.com/