Christmas is my mother’s favorite holiday. She really enjoys the celebration and the opportunity to spend time with family. We’ve lost a lot of relatives over the years and Christmas is so different than what it was like in my childhood.
I remember the family gatherings with all of the food and spending time with my many cousins. Christmas is very different for me now and has a very different meaning than the toys or all of the good food to be consumed.
It’s a blessing to witness my younger cousins as they are now parents and to see my mother, aunt, and uncle get older as well as build new traditions with my daughter.
Christmas is more than the gifts and decorations. It’s more than the TV shows and cartoons about the Grinch stealing Christmas, Father Time, ghosts to remind us of what we are missing or mushy Hallmark movies that always end in folks falling in love.
It’s more than jamming out to those classic Christmas songs by Donnie Hathaway, James Brown, or the Emotions. It is more than going to see our relatives and getting a plate from multiple houses. Those traditions are important but the reason for the season cannot be forgotten.
Luke 2 reminds us of why we celebrate: “And there were shepherds residing in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night. Just then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid! For behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord! And this will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’
“And suddenly there appeared with the angel a great multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests!’ When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the Baby, who was lying in the manger.
“After they had seen the Child, they spread the message they had received about Him. And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
During the time of Jesus’ birth, there was a lot of political turmoil and uncertainty. The birth of Jesus is a reminder that in the midst of chaos and challenges, God is ever present. No matter what we face, there is good news in knowing that God loves us so much that God sent His son, a redeemer and restorer.
Christmas is not only a time to remember and reflect but it is for us to rejoice in knowing that God fulfills His promises. As prophesied in the Old Testament of a Savior to come, God fulfilled the promise.
God continues to fulfill promises thousands of years later. Mary made herself available to be a vessel for God to use her. In this season, we too, have the opportunity to be available to God’s call. Like Mary, we can answer. It won’t be easy, but we can be assured that we will not be forsaken as we walk paths that are new and different. Mary trusted God and is a model for each of us that when we trust God, great things can happen in and through us.
God can birth in each of us something amazing that can change the world around us. In this Christmas season, ask God how you can be used to bring glory and honor to God and be a blessing to those placed on your path.
I hope you had a Christmas filled with so much love, peace, joy, and hope as you celebrated with family and friends. But please do not forget the reason for the season.
(Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the host of the Tapestry podcast and the author of three books for women. She is also the vice president of Community Affairs for the State Fair of Texas. To learn more, visit <drfroswa.com>.)