In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
- Luke 2:1-21
We have missed a lot this year, but what we have not missed is the meaning of Christmas. Now that everyone has opened their presents and most have gone to church, last night, today, or tomorrow, we must never forget the miracle that all mighty God came to earth to save us. The offer He gives is that if we believe and trust in Him, He will give us eternal life. Our outer body may die, but our soul will live forever. Jesus even promises us a mansion.
That message is clear, and my wife and I did not miss it. But what did we miss?
All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth is a Spike Jones classic. George Rock, the phenomenal trumpet player in Spike Jones’ band sings the song. This one is painful for us to listen to this year. Our granddaughter in Tennessee just lost her two front teeth this year. She could easily sing the song, and we could not make the trip down to see them.
The next song is recorded by Shirley Temple, I’m Gettin’ Nuttin’ for Christmas. We have someone in our family who lost a bit of school property, to be left unnamed, but he knows. Defiantly he told his mother that he could not remember where he put it, and he was not going to look either. He’d simply write a letter to Santa Claus, and Santa would bring him a new one. I guess he had never heard this song or about how he had to be good. (After his grandmother said that she was deeply hurt that he had that attitude, he suddenly “remembered” where it was. His grandmother is convinced that he played the “lost” routine to have his cake and eat it too. One to return to the school and one to keep. Cunning.)
And then, while a friend of mine at work said that Christmas was not complete until he heard Blue Christmas sung by “Porky Pig,” specifically over the radio, Christmas does not seem complete without Christmas Dragnet by Stan Freberg for me. I still cannot drive past Toledo without saying in a gravelly voice, “I still ain’t made up my mind about Toledo!” And, no, I did not pattern Jim Wednesday after the main character in this Dragnet parody, Joe Wednesday, but it is freaky. If I could only write my Deviled Yeggs stories this well.
And if you are like most of the country and missing a white Christmas, here is Still, Still by Mannheim Steamroller with a choir singing the song while an animation shows snow falling.
But whether you are missing those who live far away, missing the snow that might not have fallen this year, or missing that dream gift that was not under the tree, remember that Jesus came to earth. He performed miracles to fulfill Old Testament prophecies. And He was crucified. He died carrying the sins of the world, but He rose again, and He sits at the right hand of God, the Father. That is the greatest gift, to be considered a child of God, by only having to believe and trust in Him.
Why is Christmas Dragnet my favorite? If you are never too old to believe in Santa Claus, you are not too old to believe in Jesus.
Do not miss the only gift given on that first Christmas, that only gift that we can never lose unless we reject it. Accept Jesus today as your Savior and truly live.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.