Something New and Exciting ~ Kay Cermak

This year is the first time in several years that I will be hosting our family Christmas celebration, and I decided to decorate a Christmas tree after not doing this for a few years. Unboxing the Christmas tree ornaments, and the memories associated with many, I found two ornaments that have survived since Jim and I celebrated our first Christmas as a married couple (a clump of plastic mistletoe, and a white bell decorated with gold ribbon and fake pearls).
 
I’m not a sentimental person, so I’m surprised these have lasted 53 years, but I’m sure glad they did. It brought back memories of our exciting, new first Christmas. We did everything we could to make the season special with our tight budget. (I also still have the Monopoly game we gave ourselves that year).
Remembering our first Christmas made me think of the excitement of the very first Christmas – Jesus’ birth. Mary and Joseph were spending this day together for the first time as husband and wife. Their tight budget and the circumstances forced them to spend the night of Jesus’ birth living in a barn with the farm and work animals. The birth of a baby is a cherished time for the parents. But it was a special and exciting day for another reason – this was the birth of the promised Messiah, God’s son, who would pay the price to save sinful humanity from damnation.
 
The Bible doesn’t tell us how Mary and Joseph celebrated, but Luke does tell us that others celebrated – loudly! The radiance of God’s glory surrounded shepherds close by, an angel announced Jesus’ arrival to these shepherds, then the armies of heaven surrounded the shepherds and glorified God, the shepherds hurried to visit the baby Jesus, then told EVERYONE (NLT) what had happened. Luke tells us Mary treasured the events of that time in her heart, and thought about them often.
 
Luke 2:8-20 (New Living Translation)
“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior— yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.’
 
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.’
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.”
 
Lord,
In the hustle and bustle of our American-style Christmas, help us to remember that we should celebrate the simple birth of Jesus…and celebrate loudly!
Amen.

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