Christmas Changes Everything
By Elisa Morgan
When did Christmas become Christmas to you?
When did it become more than Santa and stockings and presents?
When did it morph into more than choirs and candles and carolers?
When did Christmas become more than family?
When Christmas becomes Christmas, it changes everything! Consider several main characters in the Christmas story ...
Christmas made Mary the mother of our Savior. She was just a young devout Jewess who was betrothed but still a virgin, when the invitation from God through Gabriel changed her present and future. Mary responded to that invitation with a yes, with trust, with agreement and submission and became the mother of the Son of God. The identity of Christmas birthing in Mary her changed her – and changed our world.
Christmas made Joseph the stepfather of Jesus. One day he was a carpenter, betrothed to Mary who was stunningly found to be pregnant, though their marriage had yet to be consummated. In an attempt to help Mary save face, Joseph carefully decided to divorce her quietly. Yet before the next day would dawn, Joseph’s world was rearranged by a dream and a message in it from an angel. Christmas changed Joseph from a grieving, ruined, devastated and betrothed groom to a committed, trusting husband of the mother of our Savior, who accepted her Son as his own.
Christmas changed the shepherds. After an angel appeared, they moved from a field to a manger. Christmas changed the shepherds from watching over lambs near Jerusalem to worshipping the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.
Christmas changed the Magi. They followed a star to honor a newborn king and along the way were instructed by Herod to report back their findings. After finding the Christ child, they refused to betray him. Christmas changed their loyalties from honoring an earthly authority to recognizing a heavenly presence.
Christmas changed Herod. Knowing his false royal identity – he was neither of the line of David nor even a true king - Herod fought to rid the world of what he saw as a rival king in the birth of the promised Messiah. Unsure of the child’s location, he ordered the slaying of all baby boys two years and under to make sure his throne would remain intact. Because Joseph and Mary escaped to Egypt with their Son, Herod missed Jesus. Christmas changed Herod from a man who might discover faith to one who rejected learning and instead, followed after fear.
And what about Zechariah, Elizabeth, Anna and Simeon? In the telling of the first Christmases, Scripture reveals so very many people who were changed by its arrival.
When Christmas becomes Christmas, it changes you and me. From the moment we first thrill to its magic of twinkly lights and promise, through our discovery of the hollow of the holy night, we come to embrace both its salvation and its sacrifice and we are changed.
Christmas changes everything. It gives meaning to meanderings, wonder to our wanderings and joy to our journeys.
Might this Christmas be one where you reexperience – or experience for the first time - the miraculous birth of Christmas?
Elisa Morgan is the author of Christmas Changes Everything. She is the cohost of the podcast, God Hears Her. She is also the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Her other books include, You are Not Alone, When We Pray Like Jesus, Hello, Beauty Full, and The Beauty of Broken. Connect with Elisa @elisamorganauthor on Facebook and Instagram.