By Rep. Mike Sanders
I’m afraid sometimes we’ve heard or read the Christmas story so often we take for granted how amazing it truly is. We too easily glide past the static Nativity scenes; we know the next scene in the Christmas pageant; we’ve heard all the words of the carols numerous times. We eat, drink and make merry, but do we really take time to consider the true meaning of this holiday?
Our Savior chose to leave Heaven and come to this earth to be born to a young virgin girl in the midst of utter chaos. The Jews were under brutal Roman rule. They hadn’t heard from a prophet of God in 400 years. They had a promise of Messiah, but they obviously had lost hope that one would truly come for them. When the Messiah did appear it was in such unlikely circumstances that many missed Him altogether, refusing to believe that Jesus was truly the Son of God. He was merely the carpenter’s son to many.
If we’re not careful, we miss this humble Messiah as well.
And yet I find myself approaching Christmas asking the Lord for a new childlike faith to believe that miracles really are still possible. Like the one where the angel appeared to Mary to tell her she would be with child even though she was not yet married and had never been with a man. Like the one where the angel then had to appear to Joseph to reassure him that this really was the hand of God. Like the one where the angels sang to the shepherds in the fields surrounding Bethlehem on the night of our dear Savior’s birth, alerting them to the fact that a Savior had been born and that God’s peace had now come to mankind. Like the miracle of the wise men following a star all the way to place where they encountered the Christ child, giving gifts in adoration and worship.
I want to see Christmas anew this year, and every year.
I love the thrill of the holidays – the activities and parties, the decorations and lights, the music and presents. But, I want to appreciate the deeper meaning – the best gift of all: my salvation, brought in the form of this tiny baby. He was born into the most humble of circumstances and would grow to be the man crucified on a cross to save me from my sins, to save the whole world if they will just believe. This to me is the best part of Christmas – God with us, Immanuel.
This year, as I spend time with my wife Nellie, our sons and our extended family, I will be grateful to God for all of His blessings in my life. But most of all, I will be thankful for this most precious gift – salvation and the promise of eternal life. I hope you will do likewise.
Merry Christmas to all!