Monday, December 20, 2010
What I enjoy most of all? Family. It's so much fun to hang out with my wild and crazy family who love with a zealous sort of love. Growing up, we had a tradition of reading the gospel of Luke’s Christmas story on Christmas Eve, followed by the children going upstairs to have an aunt read Twas the Night before Christmas. As the poem was being read, ‘Santa’ would drop off some presents and with a “Ho! Ho! Ho!” he’d disappear out the door, just as we clamored down the stairs to catch a glimpse. The quest for Santa was soon forgotten as we noticed the pile of gifts underneath the tree. That tradition lasted up until seven years ago, when I was the ‘aunt’ who read the story and watched my children clamor down the stairs for a peek at Santa.
Nowadays, I’ve started a new Christmas tradition at our house. Something to draw less attention to Santa Claus, and more attention to the greatest Christmas gift. Jesus. Not that the whole idea of Santa isn't fun and exciting - and not that Santa's true story isn't beautiful, but there's MUCH MORE. Eternally more.
It easy to get so distracted by the lighted displays and clearance prices, that we lose sight of the most amazing truth of all. God came.
Not only did He come to Earth, but he came as a human – not only as a human, but an infant. The same hands that formed Adam and Eve, grasped in the darkness of a stinky, filthy stable. The same voice that spoke the world into existence, cried out for food from his mother.
It should boggle the mind!
So – to help my kids gain that perspective a little better, after we’ve attended our beautiful Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Service, we have a scavenger hunt of our Advent characters (everyone desperately wants to find Baby Jesus, of course). Then we gather around the Christmas tree and read a poem called Twas the Night Jesus Came.
(I discovered another great Christmas story for kids this year. It’s called What God Wants for Christmas- an interactive Christmas story)
I hope you enjoy it – and may your Christmas be filled with the love of a Father who put on human flesh, so that humans can be called children of God. The Rescuer, the Redeemer has come!
Do you have a favorite Christmas story that you share with your family? A book, song, or poem that has particular meaning to you this time of year? I’ll be adding What God Wants for Christmas to my Christmas reading list for my children.
Twas the Night Jesus Came
Twas the night Jesus came and all through the town,
Not a person would guess The Messiah came down.
The earth gave no warning to speak God’s intent
But this magical night I would never forget.
The streets were all busy with strangers from far;
No time to hear singing or see the bright star.
As my young friends and I kept our watch o’er the flock
We had no idea we’d soon get a shock.
When out of the darkness there rose such a light,
An angel came shining as bright as noon-day,
More fearsome and brilliant than I’ve words to say.
At first he said, softly, “There’s no need to fear.”
Which I found hard to do since this host first appeared,
But he said, “Be of Joy! I bring you great news!
Your Savior is born, there is no time to lose.”
“This babe wrapped in cloths has no crib for his bed,
But rests his sweet head in a feed-trough instead.”
And then other angels, more than I can know,
Rejoiced through the dark with their songs and their glow.
Like millions of stars dancing down to the earth,
They lifted their voices in praise of his birth-
Singing, “Glory to God.” Through the stillness of night
“and peace to all men,” then they flew out of sight.
It didn’t take long to break out of our shock.
We ran down the hill leaving our field and flock,
And found the sweet baby inside a damp cave,
But could this be Christ – the whole world to save?
The donkeys and horses had left a foul smell.
The straw was all muddy, the manger as well.
But everything was as the angel had said,
A babe wrapped in cloths in a crude manger bed.
Then I knew – it was clear. Where else would he be?
The Teacher and Healer to make the blind see.
The Savior who’d carry the sins of us all,
Where else would show love than an old cattle stall?
This baby, The Christ, would clean up all our messes.
He’d take on our curses and give us His blessings.
So as I adored Him, God’s Son, the true Light,
God seemed to be whisp’ring to all a “good night”
copyright 2009 Pepper D. Basham