THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS
On the very first Christmas we find Joseph and Mary working their way to Bethlehem from Nazareth in order to meet the government’s requirement for a census count. However, we often forget that this was a journey home, the home to Joseph’s family. We can deduce that they had family there but perhaps they were distant relatives, perhaps they were poor and didn't have much room, or the family was overwhelmed with other family members and there was no room, thus the need for Joseph & Mary to go to an inn.
Today, we often celebrate Christmas with a similar notion – to return home. To some this means leaving school, work or duty in military to physically make it home to celebrate with family. To many others, you may not need to travel but Christmas is often a quest to recreate the warm memories of yesteryear. We go through great lengths to reignite the warm, joyous memories we had as children during this season.
In many ways, Christmas is a quest to go to a place where it feels special, where we have fond memories of years past and we want to linger in the “magic” of the past. This quest can be for us or sometimes we simply wish to recreate the scene for our children, grandchildren or friends.
There’s a lot of pressure from society at large to feel like this is the most magical time of the year and you must feel elated, warm and joyous. However, the truth is that there is no magic that mysteriously makes everyone happy. Like Joseph & Mary, we often trek back home to this place in our hearts and find that things are different or simply realize that there’s no room for us to recreate things as they were.
In the secularization of Christmas we have depended on the regeneration of a magical state of reality to appreciate Christmas but the fact is that we’ve lost sight of the real magic of the season, and that is love.
Christmas is special as a holiday because it marks an act of love by God to us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His begotten son.” The act of the baby being in our midst is a promised fulfilled by God to His people.
What makes Christmas special is that God has sacrificed Himself for us so that we might have Him in our midst. Jesus is called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” So sending baby Jesus into our midst expressed the love God has for us. His love is the magic that makes it all special.
I would argue that what has made Christmas special in your past was not the tree, the toys, gifts or parties of yesteryear but the real magic was the love devoted to make it special. It is love that drives us home to reunite. It is love that sparks a desire to give someone a gift. It is love that seeks to make the time special with one another. It is love that persist even when things were dismal and lacking but you had one another.
This pure love of family, friends that we have for one another is a semblance of the love God has for us. So if you wish to make Christmas special or magical – don’t fret over making the environment perfect or purchasing the right gifts, instead focus intently on loving your family and friends and pouring into their lives by appreciating them, loving them and spending time with them.
In the busy-ness of Christmas and in the midst of so much external conflict in our world make Christmas magical by stopping long enough to invest in others and giving of yourself to them. Make time for one another, tell them you love them, show them how much they mean to you.
For this is exactly how the first Christmas came to be, the heavenly hosts stopped and everyone watched as God gave Himself to us in the form of Jesus.