Imagine that you’re one of the Bethlehem shepherds, and you are traveling forward in time to 2009 so you can witness celebration of the Messiah’s birth. What an amazing privilege to see people all over the world commemorating the event that changed your life—and to know that it has transformed the lives of countless others over the last 2,000 years.
Now, consider the shock of observing the elaborate traditions that have come to be associated with Christmas. To a first-century shepherd, these customs would seem extravagant. In fact, he might have a hard time figuring out what many of them have to do with the birth of Christ.
My purpose is not to tell you how to celebrate Christmas. The things we do, places we go, and ways we decorate are not the issue—appropriate merriment pleases God (Prov. 17:22 nkjv), who even gave the Israelites festivals to observe. In fact, Christians, of all people, have the greatest reason to rejoice over Jesus’ nativity. But occasionally, we would be wise to examine our own unique set of Christmas traditions to determine if they are beneficial. Consider whether they are enjoyable or stressful. Do they remind you of Christ or cause you to forget Him in the rush of activity?
With each passing year, increasing expectations of what Christmas is “supposed to be” can steal the joy of Christ’s birth. This year, pause to look at this season through a shepherd’s eyes. Spend time reading about the Savior in Scripture, delighting in Him, and glorifying God for His good gift.
Used with Permission