I watched the movie Nativity Story twice in the last week and reread Luke’s account of the Christmas story. This was extremely meaningful to me in celebrating this season. The commercialism, hype, and even the great things like spending time with family can sometimes crowd out my appreciation of Jesus’ birth and the awe and splendor of Christmas. I think the difference between simply repeating traditions and making them meaningful is a matter of choice and prayer.
The movie was done extremely well (although Jason and I both wished the whole film was in Aramaic or Hebrew and subtitled) and it definitely helped a visual person like myself to really see what it may have been like for Jesus to come into the world. What a frightened young girl must have felt when she heard the Angel tell her that she was to give birth to Jesus, how individuals each laid down their own plans to follow God’s will for their lives, how counter cultural it was for a king to come for all people and to be born in a humble and lowly place. This loses meaning without picturing the reality; it was dirty, “unsafe,” raw, not at all what an earthly king would accept. I guess there in lies the distinction. Jesus was no earthly king. He came not to Lord over ruling by force but to lay down His life as sacrifice for His creation and for me in a new way I now understand that started with His birth. It was just as much a sacrifice for God to be born into flesh, as a little baby in an obscure time and place as it was for Jesus to die a terrible death on the cross 33 years later for all mankind.
I think the downside of rereading the scripture passage and traditions around Christmas is that sometimes for me I forget the profound meaning behind the ritual, words, and songs. I sing the tune and recite the words without marveling at their profound truths or make sure to attend church when the only real worship is between me and God in the quiet place of my heart. I am thankful for the things God is teaching me about Him and I want to say Happy Birthday to my King!!!
These lyrics remind me of the sacrifice and amazing promise each one of us has at Christmas:
Hark the herald angels sing”Glory to the newborn King!Peace on earth and mercy mild. God and sinners reconciled”Joyful, all ye nations rise. Join the triumph of the skies. With the angelic host proclaim:”Christ is born in Bethlehem”Hark! The herald angels sing” Glory to the newborn King!”Christ by highest heav’n adored. Christ the everlasting Lord! Late in time behold Him come. Offspring of a Virgin’s womb. Veiled in flesh the Godhead see. Hail the incarnate Deity. Pleased as man with man to dwell. Jesus, our Emmanuel. Hark! The herald angels sing”Glory to the newborn King!”Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!Hail the Son of Righteousness!Light and life to all He brings. Ris’n with healing in His wings. Mild He lays His glory by. Born that man no more may die.Born to raise the sons of earth. Born to give them second birth. Hark! The herald angels sing”Glory to the newborn King!”