But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, And on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
“’Hey! Unto you a child is born!’ she hollered, as if it was, for sure, the best news in the world.”
Gladys Herdman in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Tradition either wraps you in warm blankets or confines you in a strait jacket. It depends on your attitude.
Christmas is a holiday loaded with traditions. From Advent to Epiphany, the great traditions of the church defend the faith, comfort the faithful and celebrate the good news. Christmas trees, cards, gifts, parties, wrapping paper, lights, and parades are a few of the traditional signs of the season. Santa Claus, shopping until you are way past ready to drop, sales at every store and web-site, the never ending commercials advertising the sales, the made-for-TV movies especially the innumerable variations on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol are inescapable.
One of my personal traditions is to read Barbara Robinson’s The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. This thin little book remains me every year of the joy of loving Jesus. The experience of one of my favorite characters, Imogene Herdman, describes it best:
“She had walked into the corner of the choir-robe cabinet, in kind of a daze-as if she had just caught onto the idea of God, and the wonder of Christmas…Christmas just came over her all at once, like a case of chills and fever. And so she was crying, and walking into the furniture.”
Remember “the love you had at first” (Rev 2:4). Live joyfully in the grace of our Lord. Celebrate the child in the manger, revere the teacher and miracle worker, sorrow for the man on the cross, serve the risen Savior, anticipate the return of the King every moment. Walk around like Imogene – “in love with God.”
Gracious and Holy Father
Who loves beyond our understanding
As we celebrate the birth of your Son
Focus us on the love we had at first.
That we can be in your love always.In Jesus’ name. Amen.