I grew up in a Christian family, where I understood the true meaning of Christmas from a very young age. I heard the Christmas story so many times, I became almost numb to it. The Wisemen, shepherds, angels, and stable animals were all supporting actors in a play that I had seen too many times, and, at times, felt I couldn't sit through again. After all, there were presents waiting to be unwrapped and hot cocoa waiting to be sipped.
I am thankful my parents didn't indulge my childish impatience, and that they consistently took time to explore the spirit behind Christmas with my siblings and me. It's more than just a season that happens every year and brings sweets and gifts. The first Christmas was an earth-altering, destiny-changing day. Those there to witness it must have been in awe of what was happening.
This year, my family is looking more closely at the Nativity story (found in Luke 2 and Matthew 2). We want to explore what it must have been like to be the various people inside that story. What did each of them think and feel? Did they know that they were witnessing the most important historical event that would ever take place?
In the dark of night, an angel appeared to shepherds in a field and told them of Jesus' birth. They were tending their sheep, just expecting another normal night, when an angel appeared. In Luke 2, we are told they were terrified. What would it have been like to see a real angel? The shepherds dropped what they were doing and went to find the Savior. I wonder, did they expect to find Jesus in a stable, lying in a manger?
We are told in Matthew 2 that the Magi (Wise Men) were overjoyed when the star led them to Jesus. They had been warned in a dream not to let King Herod know where the child was. When they found Jesus, did the Wise Men really understand they stood in the presence of God? Were they fearful of hiding his whereabouts from Kind Herod?
The story of Jesus' birth spread quickly around the land. We are told that all who heard it were amazed. Did they believe that God had sent his son to save all humankind? Did they want to go and see the baby for themselves?
The Virgin Mary had just given birth to a baby boy. In Luke 2, we are told that she pondered all these things and treasured them in her heart. She was a new wife and a new mom. Was she nervous about the responsibilities in front of her? Did she feel unfit to raise a child who was the Son of God?
Will you join my family and I as we take time to consider the magnitude of Christmas and how our lives are forever changed? Read the Christmas story and talk about how different people in the story must have felt and what they experienced.
Also, will you consider giving a gift that will change the lives of others? Check out the World Vision Gift Catalog and find some incredible ways to celebrate the true spirit of Christmas!
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Lisa Leonard is a jewelry designer, blogger, and mother. You can find her custom-made jewelry and blog at www.lisaleonard.com.
Also blogging today for the 12 blogs of Christmas, Marina at Energizer Bunnies' Mommy Reports: And this is CHRISTmas.