Today's Reading: John 1:14a
Devo Author: Clark Nolen
Date: December 25, 2022
Twenty-seven years ago this past week, Pam and I made our first trip as a married couple to visit extended family for the Christmas season. We made our way from Mississippi to Stuttgart to Little Rock to Mountain Home to Branson and then back to Mississippi. Whew! Four years later, our oldest son, Nate, was born. Now there were three of us! Jacob and Bo would follow! Pack and plays, strollers, presents, baby bags, car seats… this was not sustainable! We love our extended families, but this travel plan did not seem ideal for creating Nolen family memories on Christmas morning! Pam and I made the decision to create tradition and memories in our home on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. We still figured out ways to visit with family, but this seemed like a much better way to celebrate the birthday of Jesus.
On this day, we celebrate the rich theological truth that God has become flesh. This is the day God came to “dwell among us.” The incarnation of Jesus both fascinates and perplexes me. The implications are far reaching. His sinless life made Him our perfect sacrifice on the cross. His bodily resurrection conquered death and is our living hope.
I wonder if and how His family celebrated His birthday. Go with me here for a minute. Did they travel to see family or stay at home? Did Mary cook His favorite meal? Did Jesus have a birthday plate? Did Mary and Joseph let Him sleep in a little on His birthday? Who would have been His best friends who were invited to His birthday dinner? What kind of gifts, if any, did He receive? Maybe Joseph, the carpenter, got Jesus His first tool set. Could Mary have some custom sandals made for Jesus by a family friend who traded leather? Did His brother, James, give Him a fishing net? Or maybe His parents let Him go on an overnight camping trip with His friends. And for His birthday, did someone ever give Jesus a copy of the One Year Torah, the One Year Psalms or the One Year Prophets. Did He struggle through Numbers? As He read these Bible gifts, at what point did Jesus realize, “Hey, this is about Me!”
What would it be like at your house this morning if Jesus was present for His birthday? I think I would have Him stay over Christmas Eve. Our family reads a portion of Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus on that night. As our guest of honor, I think I would have let Him read it this year! We would also take communion together. What would that be like with Jesus present?!
And Christmas morning? Well, this year, He would need to get up early with us. We have church today! Most years, though, He would need to be patient with us because our boys woke Him up too early. I wonder if Jesus would be okay with Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby music in the background. We would go around and open gifts. Would we defer to Him to unpack His stocking first or last? I think my favorite part though would be Christmas breakfast. He would love Pam’s chocolate gravy on biscuits. With wrapping paper scattered, gifts cards lost in the couch cushions and partially constructed toys laying on the floor, we would hear Jesus tell His best stories about Peter. I wonder if we could talk Him into driving over to Mountain Home with us to see Pam’s family? I’d let Jesus ride shotgun.
I’m grateful Jesus traveled from Heaven to earth to make me part of His family. What would it be like if He was physically present in your home this morning for His birthday? What questions would you ask Him? What gift would you give Him? What if all He wanted for His Christmas birthday gift is your heart? Now imagine the moment on Christmas morning you realize that in your presence is THE GIFT! Merry Christmas Fellowship!