Maybe it’s the tradition, the nostalgia of it all; the housed decorated with lights or putting up a tree and hanging the ornaments--each one telling its own story, each one holding a special memory. Maybe it’s the gathering around the table; the laughter and joy of being together as a meal is shared with family and friends.
Maybe it’s the songs of Christmas; Jingle Bells, Silver Bell, Away in a Manger or Silent Night. Or maybe it’s a favourite movie; It’s a Wonderful Life, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Frosty the Snowman or A Christmas Carol.
A movie that came out a few years ago, The Polar Express examines the meaning of Christmas and our belief or disbelief. In the movie, only those who believe in the wonder of Christmas can hear the ringing of a bell. When a child stops believing, when faith is lost, he or she can no longer hear the bell. The train, The Polar Express, takes these children on a ride to the North Pole in hopes of restoring their belief in Christmas.
But the true wonder of Christmas is not found at the North Pole, it’s found in Bethlehem, in the Christ child, who came to restore harmony between God and man. This is a Christmas to believe in!
Maybe for you it’s just another Christmas story, a nativity scene and some Christmas carols. Maybe for you it’s all too much; the virgin birth, shepherds wise men and a star—nothing more than a myth.
I don’t know what it all means to you but I do know what it means to me. Something happened on the first Christmas, something way outside of the ordinary!
This was no ordinary birth. Mary and Joseph both had a divine, somewhat mystical experience that assured them that God was behind all that was taking place. And in the area, the larger community of people, the shepherds, wise men and others also experienced something outside the ordinary. There was something going on!
So let me ask you, what do you do with the Christmas story? What you do with Christ of Christmas? You can dismiss it as nothing more than a myth; you can ignore it or even mock it but in case you have not noticed, it's not going away. Something about it rings true in our hearts if we would only open our hearts to it.
We all need something to believe in; something bigger than ourselves that gives our lives meaning and purpose and hope--a hope that will last beyond the grave. What is it for you? What do you believe in?
Many of us learned long ago the words of the Apostle’s Creed: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son. Do you still believe? Can you still hear the bell? Do you still believe on the other side of childhood? Do you still believe on the other side of pain and loss? Do you still believe God seeks a place in our lives today? If not, what is that you believe in?
When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son. (Galatians 4:4)
He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:11-12)