Christmas Simplicity

(Luke 2:4-7 NKJV) Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, {5} to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. {6} So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. {7} And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

I have often kidded my children, who love the "Little House on the Prairie" series of books and such, that some day we are going to have a "Little House on the Prairie" Christmas. If you have seen that one movie or have read the book, you know what I am talking about. Ma and Pa don't have much money to get the kids anything, and the weather really prevents them from making the trip to get stuff. But their friend is able to make it there half frozen to give some gifts. Yet, even then, by today's standards, what they got was very little. A tin cup, a penny, and Laura got a doll from their friend. Didn't talk and look like it was just made of regular stuff. Yet, she was so happy and said that it was the best Christmas ever.

Now if I were to give that as gifts to my children, that would be the last thought on their mind. Yet, my mind in a sense yearns for that type of simple Christmas. A Christmas which is measured more by the meaning of the holiday than by the number of presents under the tree. A Christmas which is more preoccupied by what we are giving Christ than by what we are getting from Santa. A Christmas where we experience the reality and significance of God becoming man and how that has brought us a marvelous salvation which we didn't deserve rather than just a full stomach and a day off.

Luke's narrative is the most detailed. Yet, even here we do not see anything extravagant. You would think that his training as a doctor would want him to describe in grand terms Jesus birth, yet he only says that in those days it was time for Mary to give birth, and so she does. Then he goes on to talk about the shepherds and angles, etc. Luke just states that it happens. Simple and straightforward. Yet, how significant. A true miracle happened. Eternal God became a man within time. Don't ask me to explain it. I could do that no more than I could tell you how Jesus walked on water.

But, it happened. One of the most significant events in human history came about in such an insignificant way, so much that the Gospel writers reflect that simplicity even in describing the event itself. Maybe that was so all the fanfare, all the parades, all the lines of people would not have detracted from this one simple fact. God became man in order that man could become like God. Jesus, salvation, came into the world.

If there is one thing that I would suggest that you do this Christmas season, it would be to set aside some quiet time in which you could mediate and reflect on your life. In what ways has Christ been born into the various areas of our life? Has Advent happened to us wholly and completely? Is God living in you in such a way that you can see yourself becoming like Him?

Holiness means for us that Christ has come into every area, so that like the vine and the branches, each part of our life has been woven into a complete whole by the mercy and grace of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Don't allow the pressures and shopping sprees and special productions and parties to detract you from this fact. The objective coming of Christ into the world must become a personal subjective acceptance into all our lives. He alone will unite our soul, our bodies, and our spirits into a holy vessel fit for His dwelling on earth.

Maybe it is time that each of us had a "Little House on the Prairie" Christmas, at least in a spiritual sense. Remove that which distracts you from that reality in your life and focus on that which enforces that. By God's grace, we will find ourselves conforming to His image and likeness in even greater ways this coming year.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

In His grace,

Rick Copple