The Birth of Jesus
Open Your Bible
Luke 2:1-20, Galatians 4:1-7
We read these words every year on Christmas Day. We need to hear this good news year after year. Just like we trim the same trees and hang the same stockings, we keep the same traditions because we desperately need to be reminded of the source of our Christmas hope. On the importance of protecting our traditions, author Edith Schaeffer had this to say:
“There is something about saying, ‘We always do this,’ which helps keep the years together. Time is such an elusive thing that if we keep on meaning to do something interesting, but never do it, year would follow year with no special thoughtfulness being expressed in making gifts, surprises, charming table settings, and familiar food. Tradition is a good gift intended to guard the best gifts.”
We observe traditions in order to safeguard our best gifts. We need the regular annual reminders or we would honestly forget. This repetition is a life-long liturgy—a return again and again to the vital truths of the gospel. When we read the Christmas story, it’s easy to think to ourselves, Oh yes, I’ve heard all this before. I know what it’s about. But when our feet hit the ground and practicality sets in, we forget. We forget that Christ came in actual history, breathing air, treading dust, sharing bread and wine with people just like us.
We forget that He came to our fallen world, a world full of inconvenience, discomfort, struggle, and tears. The pains and griefs that are often sharper during the holiday season are precisely the reason He came. They are a vital part of the Christmas story. We forget that we have received shocking news, and overwhelming good tidings. We forget the joy that has been given to this weary world, to our own hearts. We forget to treasure up all these things in our hearts. Instead, we heap up the treasures of this world, distraction after distraction, forgetting the untarnished, unfading treasure of Christ. We forget to rejoice.
We forget all the best things, even the true meaning of Christmas. And so, every year, we return to the same traditions, the same lights that remind us of the Light that shone from heaven, the Light of the world (John 8:12). The same food and drink remind us of the table of feasting that Jesus has spread before us (Luke 14:15–24). The same songs remind us of that first Christmas song that resounded in the skies that night (Luke 2:8–20). The same tradition of presenting gifts reminds us of the undeserved generosity of God (Hebrews 12:2).
Remember on this day and rejoice. Christ has come! Unto us a Son is born! Today a Savior is born! (Luke 2:11). Because of Him we are no longer slaves, but sons and daughters—heirs to His throne (Galatians 4:7). Remember and rejoice greatly, O Daughters of Zion! (Zechariah 9:9).