Of all the things that should keep going year round, Christmas is one of them. It is the celebration of the holy birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Holy Scripture tells us who this holy Christ child is:
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:3, ESV)
And the first chapter of the Gospel of John states:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5, 14, ESV)
Yet, it’s just not practical to keep all the extra worship services and Christmas parties and gift giving going all year. And people might think we are a little strange if we kept singing Christmas carols and left our Christmas decorations up all year.
But there are still ways to keep Christmas from fading away. We can do what Jesus’ mother Mary did. According to Luke 2:19, after the shepherds had made their visit to the stable to see and worship the newborn Savior, Mary “treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” (ESV)
When it says treasured up all these things I’m sure that included everything that had happened going all the way back to the day when the angel first appeared to Mary to announce to her that by the power of the Holy Spirit she would conceive a child who would be the Savior. (Luke 1:26-38, ESV)
Then she had to help her fiance, Joseph, not to abandon her but to understand that they had been chosen to be part of God’s plan to fulfill his promise to send the Savior.
Then there was the trip to Bethlehem for the census, the frantic search for a place to stay as the time approached for the baby to be born. And the realization that the best place they could find to place the newborn Christ child was a manger. Finally, there was the visit of the shepherds who talked about the angels announcing to them that Jesus had been born. (Luke 2:1-18, ESV)
Yes, there was a lot for Mary to treasure and ponder in her heart. As someone put it, the only thing Joseph and Mary did not have to deal with was shopping for gifts, going to parties and getting together with family because none of those aspects of Christmas had started yet.
Notice it does not say that Mary understood all these things, for who can understand the wonders and mystery of Christmas, how Jesus, who is the eternal, almighty Son of God could be born of a woman? (Galatians 4:4-5, ESV)
It may seem like treasuring and pondering things is no big deal but it is a big deal.
First, Satan, the person most opposed to the birth of the Savior, does not want us to ponder anything, much less things about Jesus. Satan is happy when our minds just flit around from topic to topic never really settling down to think or ponder anything.
He does not want us to stop and think about the seriousness of our sins and how offended God gets when we sin. And above all he does not want us to spend any time pondering the great love of God in sending a Savior who gave his life on the cross to pay for our sins, a God whose love far exceeds even the very worst of our sins.
The only time Satan wants us to stop and think is when we are presented with opportunities to share the Good News of our Savior’s birth. Then he wants us to stop and think about whether or not the person might get offended if we tell them about Jesus and before we know it the opportunity is lost.
In the confession of sins section of our Lutheran Service Book hymnal there is a time of silence set aside for self-examination to think about the seriousness of our sins. And recently our congregation instituted changes to the way we distribute the Lord’s Supper to give people more time to think about the glories of this sacrament.
Speaking of the Lord’s Supper, this sacrament is another way to keep Christmas going year round because just as surely as Jesus came to us through his birth, he also truly comes to us in the Lord’s Supper.
The real presence of Christ in the Holy Supper was a topic of much discussion in the days of the Reformation. After 1500 years of agreement that Jesus’ body and blood are truly in the sacrament, some in the church started to question how Jesus’ true body and blood could be in the bread and wine of Holy Communion. They insisted the bread and wine only represented the body and blood of Jesus.
In response, Luther pointed out that the true body and blood of Jesus are in the bread and wine of Holy Communion in the same way that Jesus physically entered the womb of Mary. Somehow Jesus physically entered Mary’s womb by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 1:18-21, ESV) He definitely did not enter her womb in the regular way. So then he can also physically enter the bread and wine of Holy Communion and be present there to give us forgiveness, life and salvation.
To say that Jesus miraculously entered the womb of his mother and then insist that there is no way he could enter the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper is contradictory and certainly not in accord with Holy Scripture.
And so another way to keep Christmas going all year long is to regularly partake of the true body and blood of Jesus in the Lords Supper.
Of all the things we should keep going year round, Christmas should be one of them. Since it’s not very practical to keep all the decorations and other parts of Christmas going all year, it’s best to do what Mary did; treasure and ponder these things in our hearts and regularly welcome Christ into our lives through Holy Communion.