Christmas is only two days away, and my girls are excited. I've been doing my best to keep them both busy this week. We've had playdates and parties and hockey clinics, so they haven't really had a whole lot of time to get antsy for Christmas. Kids anticipate Christmas better than any of us. They get excited about the day long before it gets here. When it finally arrives, no one is more excited than a young child, waking on Christmas morning and rushing to see what gifts are under the tree.
Christmas is exciting, not just because there are gifts to be opened and good food to eat. On a dark, Christmas eve night more than 2,000 years ago, a couple of shepherds rushed to see a gift in a stable. They were the first outside His family to see Jesus. They were the first to hear the good news of His birth.
As we approach Christmas (just two more days), we want to be as excited as a young child and as awed as the shepherds. It's easy to let the gift of Jesus become routine. Going to church on Christmas Eve can become rote. Talking about Jesus' birth can become an afterthought. We can miss the joy and wonder without realizing it.
As you celebrate Christmas on Sunday, make it a point to slow down, to look around and to see Jesus. As big as we've made Christmas, it's easy to miss that Christmas is a personal holiday. Jesus came to save each one of us. He loves us enough to die for us. He loves you enough to die for you.
When you hear the good news of Jesus' birth, let your heart be filled with wonder. Take time to talk with your kids about how amazing it is that Jesus became a man because He loves us. Use this simple illustration:
Give your child a crown or a tiara. Ask him what the crown or tiara signifies. Talk about what it means to be a king. Talk about all the perks and trappings that come with being royalty. Ask your kids if they think it would be hard to give all of that up. Explain that Jesus was more powerful than any king -- He is God. Yet he took off His crown and came to earth as a baby so He could die for our sins and create a path for us to be near God. Explain that that is what we celebrate on Christmas.
Jesus willingly gave up His rightful place at God's side to come to us. He came as a baby, the most helpless of creatures. He depended on a mom and dad to help Him grow. He learned a trade. He spent three years ministering to others. Then He made the ultimate sacrifice in dying on the cross. But He didn't stay dead. He defeated death and created a way for us to have a relationship with God.
When Isaiah said "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6), he was giving us a glimpse of all that Jesus would be and do.
As you celebrate Christmas this weekend, remember that while Jesus came to save the world, He also came to save you.