A Simple Christmas – How?
One of my favorite Christmas moments each year is when our family reads Luke 2 as the angels appear to the shepherds (vv. 10-11). My husband and I gratefully look at each other and then at our almost-nine-year-old son, remembering when he recited the angels’ lines from memory at barely three years of age. In my head I can still hear every inflection of his toddler gusto: “Do not be afraid!!! I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you! He is Christ the Lord!”
Oh, how it ministers to my heart to hear little voices proclaim big truths! Out of the mouths of babes, my heart is reset. First, by reminding me to keep Christmas simple. Second, by exhorting me to choose trust over fear.
Having a Simple Christmas
My son memorized most of the Christmas story from our daily reading of The Advent Book by Jack and Kathy Stockman. Lord willing, I will someday share that priceless memory (and video!) with my grandchildren: a memory borne not from scattered efforts to fit everything in, but rather from one consistent habit. I need this reminder to treasure one or two Christmas traditions instead of cramming in all the beautiful ideas I see on social media. I can’t do it all, but my son’s three-year-old exhortation recalls the one, Jesus, who did it all for us. Let’s focus on him!
Choosing Trust Over Fear
Why did the angels tell the shepherds not to be afraid? A glorious light from thousands of angels shone on them, highlighting their own imperfections more acutely. They must have been terrified!
We also face circumstances that could overwhelm us with fear, but the Lord calls us to live on his promises. The same assurance the angels offered frightened shepherds is for us: our Savior is born. He may not change our scary circumstances, but in saving us from what our sin truly deserves, Jesus can make our circumstances far less scary. Just like Peter on the water (Matt. 14), we keep our eyes on Christ, and he keeps us afloat.
Jesus was lonely and rejected, but I can trust him to never leave me (Deut. 31:6). When I fear loss, the Spirit reminds me Christ yielded everything for me. When I’m tempted toward despair, I fight to trust his victory over death (Rom. 8:2) and his promise of working his strength in me (Col. 1:28-29).
We will not find angels in the sky, but we can still look up and rest in knowing the one who put those angels in the sky, who put the star over his son in Bethlehem and who made all we see holds us in his hands. My son’s three-year-old voice reminds me to focus on Jesus so I can trust his unfailing promises even in the midst of my fears.