Matthew 1:21-23 – “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

A woman was doing her last-minute Christmas shopping at a crowded mall. She was tired of fighting the crowds. She was tired of standing in lines. She was tired of fighting her way down long aisles, looking for a gift that had sold out days before.  Her arms were full of bulky packages when an elevator door opened. The elevator was full. The occupants of the elevator grudgingly tightened together to allow a small space for her and her load.  As the doors closed, she blurted out, “Whoever is responsible for this whole Christmas thing ought to be arrested, strung up, and shot!” A few others nodded their heads or grunted in agreement. Then, from somewhere in the back of the elevator, came a single voice that said: “Don’t worry. They already crucified him.”

Unfortunately, it can be easy to view Christmas as a holiday rather than a holy day. We spend so much time buying gifts, putting up decorations, planning parties, and traveling to be with family that we can easily begin to focus on the earthly celebration of the day rather than the heavenly significance of the day.

Determine that this Christmas you will consciously reflect on and give thanks for the central reason that we even take time away from our regular routine. Decide that today and every day of this month you will remember the baby who was born “away in a manger” on that “silent night.”