And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest,and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2: 9-14 KJV
I’ve been thinking a lot this month about the birth of Christ. Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem was long and hard. They weren’t greeted there with joyful anticipation of the eminent arrival of the Messiah. Instead, they were turned away from the inn and sent to a stable or cave. There, in plainness among the animals, Christ was born. There was no grand celebration. In fact, it would be many years before His birth was celebrated around the world as a holiday. The birth of Christ was simple.
The second chapter of Luke presents not an earthly celebration, but a heavenly one. An angel of the Lord appears to the shepherds and describes Christ’s birth as “good news of great joy for all people.” Then suddenly, a crowd of angels appears praising God.
Praising God. Those two words in Luke 2:13 teach us how to celebrate Christmas. We are to praise God for His gift to us – the gift of eternal life through the birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This is the busiest week of the year. Our lives are filled with holiday preparations: planning, shopping, baking, wrapping gifts, sending cards, decorating and cleaning our houses; the list is endless. Yet, God requires none of these things from us. He wants us to celebrate the birth of Christ simply by praising Him, by offering thanksgiving to Him for the gift of Jesus.
The birth of Christ was simple, and so is the secret to a joyful Christmas: Praise God.