Imagine That!

I have heard people say, there just seems to be something missing this year. I just can't get in the Christmas spirit. That set me to thinking (of course!) and these are some thoughts I had.

The "Christmas spirit" is not something you get into from the outside. It is not something you put on. What some might describe as the Christmas spirit is a list of outward signs and events. One might say, "I got the Christmas tree up today, but I have to finish decorating the house." Another might say, "I got the lights put up on the outside and cut greenery for the wreath and doorways." and yet another might say, "I got my Christmas grocery shopping done, my recipes chosen and even have some ingredients measured. I will start my baking tonight." And even one might say, "I bought a red Christmas sweater to wear to our Christmas Eve service at church. The children have outfits in red and green. We are ready for Christmas now!" But, even in the church service is not the the answer. All of these things are outward expressions of what is hopefully going on, on the inside. It is much like what Paul said about love - without love all the bells can chime and all the people can sing, but it is all as tinkling brass and clanking cymbals (see I Corinthians 13:2) without HIM. If something seems to be missing, then one must look within. If the Lord Jesus Christ, the little babe of Bethlehem, is not in the heart, then the true Christmas spirit is not there and all the outward signs of services, celebrations, decorations, gatherings and gift giving are nothing more than empty expressions, cooked up by human desires in search of the REAL SPIRIT.

So, if there seems to be something missing this year, look no farther than the pages of the Holy Bible. Read the story again. Allow it to unfold in your mind and heart. Go there to that mother Mary and father Joseph who have felt the fear that only a parent can know when they sense their little one is threatened. Imagine a mother "great with child" being helped onto a donkey by a young and frightened man, knowing that the baby could decide to come at any time, and set off to a place where they had no reservations - bumping along on a donkey. Imagine that! We who sit here in our comfortable homes, with all kinds of help at the end of the phone line with 911, have no idea. I can promise you that. Surely God was watching over them and they were following what He was leading them to do, but they were human and bound by the constraints of their bodies and time with the responsibility of caring for their little one. Imagine that!

Go with them as they looked for a place to stay. Imagine how much Mary needed relief from that ride on the donkey, how much she needed a place to lie down. Imagine how Joseph felt, responsible for Mary and the child, desperately trying to find a safe and clean place for them - and being told they can have the stable. Imagine that! Imagine the faith that had to have welled up from within them as they settled into that stable. Imagine Mary delivering the babe in that place. Imagine wrapping the babe and placing it in the manger. Imagine Joseph watching over Mary and the babe in those few minutes and hours after the birth with now not one human, but two - one a mother who just gave birth and a new born baby. Imagine that!

Imagine Mary with no sister, midwife, mother to call out to there in a stable, with her husband and new born babe hearing the soft snuffle maybe from cows or sheep, dependent on God and her husband to see them through. Imagine the faith! Imagine the feelings she must have had! How would you feel if you were Joseph or Mary? Imagine that! Now, you say we may be getting somewhere in asking the "Spirit of Christmas" into our hearts. Invite the babe into your heart. Acknowledge that He is your King, your Saviour, your Lord. Ah, feel that joy? Feel that surge of anticipation, see the "star", hear the angels sing? Now we have to be getting somewhere.

Now, see the distant flickering of lanterns and glitter of what must be threads of gold and silver. Squench your eyes and see clearer the approach of what looks like some very important people. Now, it is clear they are dressed in very different attire. They are carrying gifts! They are the Maggi come to see the baby King! They kneel with astonishment and awe on their faces and spread out their gifts of gold, frankinscence and myrrh! Imagine that! On the floor of a remote stable before an humble young carpenter, his wife and a babe who has no bed except the manger where livestock usually eat their feed, there spill out gifts of great value. However, the greatest gift of all lies before them, the babe lying in the manger has been born who will grow to become the saviour of all who confess their sins and invite Him into their hearts to be their Lord and Saviour. Imagine that! The Only Son of the living God, born of the virgin Mary, is come. Imagine that!

Now, breathe in the rare air of this story. Check inside your heart to make sure that it is He who is behind the decorating, the celebrations, the religious observances, the gatherings of family and friends and the giving of gifts. If you find Him there, then the Spirit of Christmas will shine forth in every plan, action and deed you do this Christmas time. For, He is the foundation, He is the real Spirit of Christmas, and for each one of us, He must live in our hearts and lives to be so. Make it real!

God bless one and all, AND Merry Christmas to you. Be sure, too, to put a little Christmas into every day of the year and you will have a Happy New Year, too. IMAGINE THAT!!!!

© Marjorie 2007 All rights reserved

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