My younger daughter played a hockey game on her rink's outdoor sheet of ice on Sunday. The weather was gorgeous -- 45 degrees with a brilliant sunset for a background. Most of us quit watching the game simply to watch the sunset. The kids were awestruck as well, turning around on the bench to take a look. It was as if God had taken a paintbrush and painted the sky just for us. For a few moments in time, we were all struck by His amazing creation.
When I think about that sunset, I'm reminded that too often, especially at this time of the year, I miss the wonder. I miss the awe in Christmas. I miss the unbelievable fact that God sent His Son to earth to live as a man. I miss the wonder inherent in that act. I miss the jaw-dropping splendor in the idea that the Creator of the universe left His heavenly throne simply so that He could have a relationship with me.
We don't celebrate Christmas because of a legend about a jolly elf who comes down the chimney. We don't celebrate Christmas because we like to put trees in our houses. We celebrate Christmas because it commemorates the most awe-inspiring event in history -- Jesus coming to earth as a baby so He could grow up and save the world.
But in all the trappings, all the holiday gatherings, all the presents, it's become so easy to miss the wonder and the awe. It's become too easy for our kids to miss Jesus.
So, this year, take some time to contemplate the awe and wonder of Christmas. Talk with your kids about how amazing it is that the God of the universe would want anything to do with us. Make sure they understand that Jesus' birth isn't the end of the story: It's simply the beginning of God's plan to bridge the gap between Him and us. Christmas is the beginning, but the empty tomb is the end.
Enjoy this season with your family. Read the scriptures about Jesus' birth together. Be awed by them. Don't let the trappings of the season cause you to miss the wonder of the baby in a manger.