BY: Kaylee Breker
My parents, with hearts of wisdom and years of experience, made the rule in our house that no one was allowed to come down stairs on Christmas morning until 7 o’clock. A rule they still firmly enforce, though the pushback from my siblings and me is considerably less these days.
Obviously, as an adult I now see the merit of setting an appropriate start time for the day, but as a child it was a source of agony! There were a few years when my sister and I, who shared a room, would chatter excitedly for a while, drift off back to sleep, and awake almost every subsequent hour to check the time again. It would make for a long night for us and a long Christmas day for everyone who had to be with our grumpy, sleep-deprived selves.
The promise of all the good that was to come made it next to impossible to sleep. Arguably the best day of the year was just a few hours away and yet I was expected to delay that pleasure for a few hours of sleep? Sleep did not seem as valuable to me as presents and fun did then….a fact that my 31-year-old self marvels at now…but I digress.
I remember well the feeling of excitement and wanting to respond by immediately jumping into the fun of the day. When I read the passage in Luke about the angels appearing to the shepherds, I recognize that same enthusiasm.
Every detail Scripture gives, indicates the shepherds were experiencing a completely average night of tending to their sheep until an angel appeared to them, announcing the best news the world has ever heard. This news was so profound that Heaven and Earth could not resist rejoicing, filling the sky with angels, music, and singing. A Savior had been born and the world would never be the same again.
Immediately, recognizing the enormity of what has just happened, the shepherds responded. Scripture tells us they hurried to go see this baby Messiah. There was no pause to ponder what had happened, no delay to figure out how best to proceed, just immediate action. One does not experience such an encounter with Heaven and approach it casually.
While I do hope that we all have peaceful, deep sleep on the night of Christmas Eve, I also hope that the significance of the message the angels gave is not lost on us. This is still one of the greatest moments in history. Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, Messiah and Lord was born and nothing has been the same since.
Jesus’ birth brought the greatest source of hope and peace the world could ever need. That baby Messiah, who grew into a perfect man, died on a wretched cross and rose again three days later, fulfilled the impossible mission of connecting humanity to God again. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
As the Shepherds’ night was interrupted by the message of the love of God touching Earth, may that same thing happen to us. I pray that our normal ways of celebrating Christmas are infused with new life and enthusiasm as we respond to the message of Heaven.
How can you better incorporate the gift of Jesus into your Christmas traditions?