“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.” – Luke 2:11-14
This morning – while everyone else in North America seems to be obsessed with the indiscretions of, well, almost everyone in politics – I noticed the way the light played off the gifts Rebekah and I placed under the tree yesterday, and my mind has turned away from prurience (our new national pastime) and toward the beauty of this season.
In a sense, colorfully wrapped boxes arranged under a small tree – a tree we killed, hauled into the house, tied to the wall, dressed in drag, and then electrocuted – have nothing to do with the essential message of the season. But at the same time, they absolutely do.
Making a Splash!
Culturally, making a splash is how we celebrate. Giving gifts is how we acknowledge special occasions. Decorating is an artistic expression of joy, excitement, and meaning. Both making food and entertaining guests have layers of meaning in the American cultural vernacular.
So I can’t agree with the idea that we have to strip all this away and approach the Christ Child in quiet reverence. Yes, we must approach the Christ Child in reverence, and most certainly it’s important to see Jesus clearly, absent the distractions, and I won’t argue with the need for meditative contemplation at times, and then I totally agree that we must understand the simple intention of his coming…
…But when it comes to all this razmataz we have going on at this time of the year? I’m all for it! Here in North America we can party with a purpose, and this Good News of Jesus is spectacular in every way! So bring on the glitter, the glitz, the bling, the lights, the gift-giving, and the noise! Christmas is one celebration worth going over the top for. He is born! We are redeemed! God has opened a new door for us! This gift of Jesus is better than anything ever before imagined in the history of the world!
Let’s throw a party! Let’s remember what’s important! Joy to the World!
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.