“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a]among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” Luke 1.1-4
It’s Christmas. The houses are strung with lights, the TV’s are streaming Christmas shows like the Grinch, Elf and Home Alone, ugly sweater parties are around every corner and families are preparing to gather together for the holiday season.
And in the midst of all of this, Jesus is born. He’s born not in a palace but a pitiful excuse for a hotel. He’s born not to kings and queens but to a teenage girl and a Jewish carpenter. The Son of God, the hoped-for Messiah, is born in Bethlehem. And the world moves on.
Now we know for sure that some noticed. Certainly the shepherds won’t forget the angels led by Gabriel and their appearance on that dark one-star-night. And the magi from the east were well aware of the importance of this birth. This is evidenced in the extravagant gifts given to the child and his parents. And of course Mary and Joseph “pondered all of these things” in their hearts. But besides this, the world continued on as if nothing had happened.
The author of this Gospel, Luke, writes to his friend the “most excellent Theophilus,” about “an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us.” So that he might have an “orderly account” and so that he might know “the certainly of the things you (he) has been taught.” The importance of the moment would not be forgotten by Luke, Mark, Matthew and John. These Gospel writers who together compile the incredible origins of his birth and the amazing life and ministry of the Son of God — they remembered.
So why is it that two thousand years later our world is so reflective of the broken culture of Jesus’ birth? Some are celebrating, churches have worship services, believers are pausing to give thanks, but the rest of the world, the majority in fact, is soaking up Christmas without Christ.
Christmas isn’t only about the birth of Jesus, it is about our rebirth. Jesus came so we might have life today and life eternal to come. He came to die so we might find forgiveness, hope and grace through his ministry, death and resurrection from the cross. Jesus came bearing upon his shoulders the sins of the world so the world might turn from sin and find true significance in God alone.
Our preparation for Christmas is complete. The day has come when we rejoice in God our Savior. Won’t you celebrate this day with me? God’s greatest gift to you this Christmas is Jesus — and your greatest gift to him in return – is your heart.
“O Lord Jesus, born in a stable, laid in a manger in Bethlehem— I give you praise. I judge not the hearts of others but only look inward to my own love, commitment and desire for you. I glorify your name. I present to you my heart, this Christmas, my life in exchange for your love. Come now, Holy Lord, and visits us once again by the power of your Holy Spirit. Help us so embrace your love that we might walk with you and love you more. For this Christmas is about you and also about us. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen