Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
Maybe there is something to the repetition of it all?!? The predictable and the familiar doesn't always have to be a bad or mundane thing. I can almost guarantee that you will not hear any breaking news when you come to church this Christmas. Very likely, nothing will shock you or leave you speechless. No special additions or previously unseen characters. After all, the story hasn’t changed. We follow the same star. We travel to the same manger. We marvel at the same angels. We stand alongside the same shepherds. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” (KJV, Luke 2:11-12)
Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it?
For over 17 years now, my wife and I have shared presents with each other at Christmas. With varying degrees of excitement and practicality, we exchange gifts as an expression of love and thankfulness for each other. In the early years of our marriage, we’d occasionally try to recount the different gifts shared at past Christmas, birthdays or anniversaries. It was fun to relive the gifts we had shared as it brought to mind different memories or stories from years gone by. But as the years have progressed and with more attention focused on gifts for our kiddos, it has become impossible for us recall each gift given and received from one year to the next. After all, I can’t remember half of what happened to me in the last week. Truthfully, many of those gifts have probably since been thrown out or used up; they no longer work or are no longer needed. It is not that the gifts weren’t special or appreciated, it is just near unachievable to find a gift that stands the test of time. Maybe then, there really is something special and news-worthy to the unchanging story we encounter each Christmas season.
The repetition of God’s beautiful gift given to us in the Christ Child firmly imprints itself on our hearts and in our minds. Unlike clothes that have worn out or gadgets that are outdated, the incredible message of Christmas is timeless. It speaks just as much comfort to us today as it did 2000 years ago. Today the “good tidings of great joy” is just as relevant and sorely needed in our culture and our personal lives as ever before. We need to hear of God’s great act of love to put back our sin-shattered lives. We need to hear that there is still hope in despair and peace in the midst of hardships. We need to hear that all is not lost, that we are loved and passionately pursued by the Creator.
To be fair, we don’t always like repetition. None of us do. If a song comes on the radio too much, we change the station. If our favorite TV show comes on with a rerun, we flip to another channel. If our children wear the same clothes every day, teachers will start to get concerned. If we start eating the same thing for dinner each night, eventually our taste buds will rise in protest. But we dare not tune out the Christmas story. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) No matter how many times we’ve heard it before. We still need it. Desperately. The gift of a Savior, light breaking into our world of darkness to uplift and redeem us.
Even though my wife and I can no longer recall the exchanged gifts of the past, one thing we never fatigue of is hearing about how much we love each other. Our children never get tired of hearing how much their parents love them. Parents never get tired of hearing their children say how much they love us. Christmas is God’s emphatic—and wonderfully repetitious—declaration of His unchanging and unmatched love for you. We sing with the angels and rejoice with the shepherds again and again, year after year, because God shows His great mercy for us in flesh and blood form. We see the “goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior” who appeared to save us and make us heirs to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7) We don’t enter into a candlelit church just for tradition’s sake, to hear a familiar story. So much more is happening. God is again revealing Himself to us. God is again showing up in our midst. He is again dwelling among His people. Yes indeed, something awesome happens when we gather to worship, again, at Christmas. We peer into the manger, past the hay and animals, to gaze upon a child wrapped in swaddling clothes—the divine and perfect Gift that lasts forever. “Behold, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel which means “God with us.” (Matt. 1:23)
Beautiful words! God is with YOU today and always. For YOU a Savior is born. My prayer is that we never grow weary of hearing this! 😊
“Of course, it’s the same old story. Truth is usually the same old story.” (Margaret Thatcher)
“Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life." (Corrie Ten Boom)
Pastor Steve Vera