The busiest time of year is here again! We can't even finish our Thanksgiving dinner before we are diving headlong into the Christmas season. I've been getting "sneak peaks" at a bunch of Black Friday deals for a couple of weeks now and number of the sales began long before Black Friday. Next was Cyber Monday and after that Cyber Week emails all flooding my mailbox. Everyone's got shopping, cooking, cleaning, gift wrapping, and Christmas cards to send. Let's face it, there is always a lot to do. Just look at the calendar for the church; Advent midweek services every Wednesday, Christmas luncheons, Christmas program practices, bible classes, meetings, etc. And that’s just the church schedule. Most of us also have school events, work events, family events, and maybe even a few other things folded in just for good measure. Wow! No wonder everyone uses the word "busy" at this time of year. It’s a wonderful time of the year, and there’s nothing wrong with getting the most out of it. There’s nothing wrong with Christmas lists, and shopping, and parties with family and friends.
The reason there's nothing wrong with it is because we know what the season is really all about. It’s really all about those four simple words from the prophet Isaiah …a child is born… It even sounds simple. Children are born every day. It’s the way things work. We often put out of our minds that child birth is a messy business. We have forgotten that in years past it was downright dangerous to give birth. Only a couple hundred years ago a woman chance of dying was over 2 in 100 births. Really …a child is born… is not as simple as it sounds, actually it’s extraordinary. On a dark night, in a land far away, there was an extraordinary event …a child is born… everything was pretty normal as far as child birth. There was pain and blood and a nervous father. It was another ordinary birth of a human baby. But there was something else that made this an extraordinary event. In the middle of all that was normal, there was something very unusual, because that completely normal baby boy was more than just another child born into this world. He was extraordinary. He was God. That night God was born as a baby boy. …a child is born… doesn’t begin to grasp the significance of God suckling at his mother’s breast. …a child is born… doesn’t begin to explain the Creator of the Universe wrapped in diapers. That must be why Isaiah says more about Him, calling him Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6).
That’s what this busy time is really about. God in human flesh, born of a virgin, wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. But let's also remember that that’s not the whole story. Being born was only the beginning. That same extra-extraordinary baby, lying in diapers, also hung naked on a cross. God himself paid the awful price, the eternal consequences of human sin, of your sin and mine. That baby who was born in the normal way, died in an extraordinary way, as the complete and total payment for sin. It’s the gift that all the giving is about, God taking your sin and killing it by dying Himself.
So, keep busy, celebrate completely, enjoy fully, but remember the baby, remember the cross, remember what Jesus, that extraordinary child, has done for you. Come to church and hear anew the wondrous story of God's love for you in sending His Son.