“And she gave birth to her first born Son; and she wrapped Him in swaddling cloth and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”  Luke 2:7

Christmas 2013 was an incredible Christmas for our family.  The adoption of our third daughter was finalized two months earlier, and this was the first Christmas we would enjoy with her.  Up to this point, Christmas had looked a bit different in our household. Our two oldest daughters, at the time sixteen and thirteen, had enjoyed Christmas gifts and fluctuating Christmas schedules appropriate for their age.   But 2013 was different: there was a baby in the house now, and it had been thirteen years since we were at this place in life.  And, what fun we had! Our personal gifts seemed minimized by the joy of watching our newest family member learn how to tear open Christmas gifts and play with the wrappings.  How incredible it was to revisit our childhood joys of laying in the floor before the fireplace watching Rudolph and Frosty reruns.  A child in the home seemed to return our grown hearts back to the simple joys of togetherness at Christmas time.   

Togetherness!  This stands as one of the most invaluable blessings of the Holiday season.  But, when I look at the original Christmas story, I notice a different type of togetherness.  For most of us, being present with one another at home defines togetherness (as students return from college, or as grown family members convene at mom and dad’s house).  But in the first Christmas story, togetherness looked different.  Mary and Joseph did not enjoy Christmas in the warmth and familiarity of their own home place, but rather in a distant land.  Jesus left His home in Heaven, and came to the foreignness of humanity.  The shepherds were on call in the midst of a country side setting that was anything but invitingly familiar like home.  In the birth narrative of our Savior, togetherness was defined by being placed in the center of God’s will, wherever that takes you.  At the time Mary and Joseph left the comfort of their home, I am sure they did not anticipate all that would happened on the night Jesus was born.  I am certain the shepherds were in the usual routine of a vagabond as they ushered their sheep to feed in the hillsides outside the city.  But, at the perfect moment, when home seemed far away for many, Jesus left His home to make a home within humanity, and in our hearts. 

This Christmas Season, do not simply enjoy the togetherness of family and friends; enjoy the togetherness of family and friends with Jesus as the center of your celebration.  Let’s return to the simplicity of Christmas.  This is togetherness. This is Christmas.  This is Jesus. 

READ: Today, read Luke 2:1-7 to be reminded of the simplicity of the birth of our Savior and King. 

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