I really love this time of year. There are songs playing. There are decorations around. People generally tend to be on the cheerful side. Yes, I acknowledge it’s a hard time for many people too, because of the memories that can be associated with this time of year. However for the most part, people are high spirited.
I have been travelling all over the state, asking children ‘What is Christmas really about?’. In this presentation, we talk about the many things that are part of Christmas, and we raise the Bible’s answer to what Christmas is really about. That said, it has continued to challenge me as to the emphasis that I put on this time of year.
What is your Christmas highlight?
There are many reasons to look forward to this season. For some, it’s the only time we get to see friends or family that we have not seen in such a long time. For others, it’s the only time we get to eat that special kind of food that we crave for the rest of the year. Sometimes we know there is that special at our favourite store that we are hanging out for, to get that thing that we have been hoping for. There are many reasons to like this time of year, but I wonder in all of that, what is your highlight? This is something that has been going around in my head as I talk about this time of year.
Each year I look forward to honey biscuits. Seriously, they are the best thing you could ever eat. When I eat these, I know it’s Christmas!
Babies and shepherds and all things nativity
We are well familiar with the Christmas card-like nativity that appears at this time of year: the baby with the glowing head, the perfect looking parents looking adoringly at their new child, the shepherds lightly resting on their staffs. You get the picture. We highlight the birth of the baby as the reason for the season. And yes, this is great, but Christmas is much bigger than just the baby. It’s bigger than the shepherds, and its bigger than the peaceful looking animals in the picture.
So what is Christmas about?
It’s not just that the baby was born, but its why was this baby born. The angel said to the shepherds,
I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
Luke 2 :10a – 11
Note what the angel didn’t say.
‘To you, at 10.31pm Jesus was born weighing in at 3.5kgs, he is 50cms long and gosh darn it, isn’t he a cutie. Both mum and bub doing well’
Of course not. The angel spoke of how this child will bring good news to everyone, because of what he will do! ‘A Saviour has been born to you’. To the shepherds! To everyone! Their saviour has come. He came as a frail baby who had to flee his country and then return at the opportune time. He came to save, and that’s exactly what he did!
So are you saying we don’t need the nativity?
No. By all means celebrate the nativity, the miraculous birth of Jesus. How angels spoke of his birth, how a star pointed to where he was so the Magi could eventually find him. But like all babies, he didn’t stay a baby. He grew up and did amazing things.
We too should not be stuck on the nativity.
The start of the race is never the most exciting part of the race. The start of the race is the start of the excitement! If a player is an underdog, or has come from a place no one has heard of, we are excited for them to be there, but then we don’t only look at that moment and celebrate that they started. No, we see how they run, we cheer them on and we pray they at least make it to the end. Jesus didn’t just make it to the end, he broke the end!
So what is Christmas REALLY about?
Here it is. What is Christmas really about? Jesus came to save! Jesus saved! Jesus invites us with him and be joined in this! Jesus did exactly what the angels said! This is why this is good news for all people! Christmas is about the coming of our Saviour, but not that he just came, that he actually did save! Now that is good news for all people!
Stephen Urmston is a full time puppeteer and performer that shares the good news of Jesus all over Australia. He has 18 years of experience in children’s ministry and has been a children’s and families minister in South Australia, Victoria and Queensland. Stephen loves Jesus, and loves being creative, and especially loves when his two loves combine, turning into some kind of super powered passion!
Sarah Urmston previous articles may be viewedhttp://www.pressserviceinternational.org/stephen-urmston.html