“We interrupt regular programming for this special announcement.” That line is one that we used to hear a lot during regular television broadcast hours. Following that line would be some sort of special announcement or the details of a breaking news story.
In the last issue of Pathway I interrupted my three-part series of articles about my vision for a Missouri Baptist Convention filled with healthy churches. I want to get back to that series as soon as possible. But I could not allow the Christmas season to go by without an acknowledgement on my part that the Christ of Christmas is real in my heart. And so, I interrupt the regularly scheduled series of articles to remind you that Jesus really is the reason for the season. I realize how trite that statement is to some—but it is real to me and it is entirely true that Jesus is the Reason for the Season.
To emphasize the importance of a proper celebration of Christmas, I want to share with you a parody that I have written. Webster defines parody as “… treating a serious subject in a non-sensical manner.” A parody is an exaggerated story designed to present a simple truth. I think you will easily, even quickly, see the truth in this story.
Jimmy’s seventh birthday was just two weeks away and Jimmy wanted to know what he was getting. He looked in every corner of the house—every place he knew that his parents and sister might try to hide a present. But he found nothing.
Another week went by and still Jimmy could not find his presents anywhere. He was starting to get worried. They had never been able to hide his presents before. Jimmy, in fact, was known for his ability to find whatever others were hiding from him. But he could not find any hidden presents this time.
Surely, his family had not forgotten his birthday?
Jimmy began leaving hints with his mom and dad about a new bicycle he wanted. He asked his sister if she knew what “big day” was coming next week. His sister assured him that she knew and that she was excited about the upcoming celebration. But she wasn’t very specific about what that “big day” really meant to her—and she didn’t say anything about what it might mean for Jimmy. Jimmy didn’t know what to think? Had his family actually forgotten his birthday? Impossible! They claimed to love him.
Finally the big day arrived—Jimmy’s birthday.
The aroma of a special breakfast cooking filled the house and woke Jimmy up. He got to the kitchen as fast as he could. But, the rest of the family was already gathered around the table. And, there was excitement in the air. They all seemed to know that this was, in fact, a very special day. A quick look around the room revealed that there were several presents all wrapped up in brightly colored paper and stacked in the corner. Jimmy’s faith in his family was restored. They had remembered his birthday. And, Jimmy was ready to begin the celebration.
But Jimmy was surprised when Dad started to pass out the presents.
It was Jimmy’s birthday, but Mom got that diamond tennis bracelet she had been wanting. Jimmy’s sister gave presents to his mother and father. And, from them, she received a bicycle that was actually nicer than the one he wanted. Jimmy’s dad opened his present. It was a table saw—just the one he had been hoping for.
Jimmy was confused. It was his birthday, but everyone else seemed to be getting all the presents.
Finally, Jimmy was given a gift. His father said that the whole family had put their money together—what was left of it, to buy him a warm pair of socks. They felt they ought to do something specifically for Jimmy. After all, it was his birthday.
Of course, that is a ridiculous story. But no more ridiculous than the celebration that occurs in most homes—including Christian homes in America on Christmas day. We celebrate Christmas only because we celebrate the birth of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. And yet, it seems that others are often the center of attention at Christmas.
By the way, the angels could have announced the birth of Christ in this way: “We interrupt the regularly scheduled events of ordinary life in Bethlehem for an important announcement. Christ the Lord, the Savior, is born!” This year, let’s make a special effort to keep Christ in Christmas. Let’s make Him the center of our attention.