The Magic of Christmas
It was Christmas Eve, and I couldn’t have been more excited. We had just come home from our Christmas Eve service at church, and once I stepped inside our home, I felt that rare feeling: Tomorrow is going to be special. I couldn’t put my finger on anything specific, but everything just felt right. Maybe it was the lights that covered the Christmas tree like jewelry. Maybe it was the presents that filled the space underneath the tree so fully that the quilt it sat on was now invisible. Maybe it was the Christmas cookies waiting patiently for me in the kitchen. Maybe it was the A Charlie Brown Christmas movie I turned on to gather my family together.
Or maybe it was just the anticipation of the next day.
I soaked up all the fun and festivity I could that night before going to sleep, dreaming of what the morning would be like.
You know those kids in movies that go crazy for anything and everything Christmassy? I was definitely one of those kids. I was happy, and everyone else was happy, and I never wanted to lose that feeling. So I soaked up all the fun and festivity I could that night before going to sleep, dreaming of what the morning would be like.
It was better than I expected.
I was a kid who loved sports, toys, games, and having fun with friends. But like pretty much every kid my age, I really liked video games, too. We always had great Christmas celebrations and enjoyed giving each other presents, but my brother and I had never really gotten any big video game gifts. We didn’t exactly beg for them, either, but we always secretly wished Christmas morning would bring such a gift.
The next morning, that wish came true! We woke up to the most beautiful sight a 12-year-old and an 11-year-old could imagine: our own Nintendo Wii system, all the rage at that time, all set up and ready for us to enjoy. We were dumbfounded. This? Us? Really? Wow! We tore into the games like a bag of candy, amazed that our mostly unspoken wish had come true.
An Unmistakable Feeling
I remember how that Christmas morning made me feel. Overjoyed. Excited. Magical. Satisfied. Truly happy. And sure, I wouldn’t exactly endorse celebrating over material gifts as much as I did that morning, but it was a big part of what made that Christmas feel so special.
Christmas is still my favorite time of the year, but now that I’ve grown older, reality has taken over. The magic I always felt as a kid doesn’t just come now; I have to work to make it happen. I’ll learn that firsthand a bit more next year, as my wife and I will be preparing for our baby’s first Christmas 12 months from now. But even if I personally start to outgrow the magic of Christmas, I can still see that same light in the eyes of our child for many Christmases to come.
If Christmas can make me that excited, how much more excited can Christ, the reason Christmas exists, make me?
Children of the King
Jesus deserves our best: our love, loyalty, and service. But beyond that, genuine desire should be at the heart of our allegiance to Him. And what might that desire look like? Just like a kid on Christmas morning.
Jesus invites children, lowly and untainted by the world, to Himself and repeatedly declares that the Kingdom of heaven is theirs.
We know that children are welcome at Jesus’ feet. He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3–4). One chapter later He said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (19:14). Jesus invites children, lowly and untainted by the world, to Himself and repeatedly declares that the Kingdom of heaven is theirs. In that vein, taking up the lowly position of a child and being filled with awe at His every word and action is a healthy practice for all believers at any age.
Childishness isn’t necessarily condoned in many ways. In fact Scripture speaks of putting away childish things upon reaching adulthood (1 Corinthians 13:11). But putting away childish things is different from putting away childlike innocence. It doesn’t mean losing the humility, lowliness, and joy of a child that Jesus spoke of. Those qualities strengthen the parent-child relationship the Lord has crafted with each person who enjoys the privilege of being a son or daughter of God.
Jesus deserves the same feelings of joy and excitement not only because He is the very reason for the season but because He is the greatest hope we have in every way.
Every day is like Christmas as a child of God. The biggest reason? Christ offers the greatest gift you could ever hope for—salvation—and the offer is freely available forever. Once we have accepted it, we get to spend the rest of our earthly lives happily anticipating an eternity spent with Him. That’s enough to make your eyes light up like a kid at Christmas.
This Savior is worth every shred of awe and wonder stored inside us. He’s so much bigger and greater than the things that seem so special: colorful lights, decorated Christmas trees, piles of presents, sugar cookies, and anything else that made your eyes light up as a child. If you really want to glorify your heavenly Father this Christmas, look to Him the same way you used to look at Christmastime. Jesus deserves the same feelings of joy and excitement not only because He is the very reason for the season but because He is the greatest hope we have in every way. He lives up to every expectation, never fails to be perfect, and is the reason we, sinners who deserve death, can enjoy goodness at all.
This Christmas, I hope you’ll remember those Christmas celebrations you had as a child that made you awestruck, and I hope you’ll fall even more in love with the wonder of Jesus.
Merry Christmas, friends!