Jesus is the Reason for the Season

Puzzler's Corner Blog, Midwest District, DS Margie Crawford Blog

Growing up, I enjoyed numerous Christmas traditions.  One of my favorite celebrations was singing Christmas carols.  My family moved while I was in high school, and our new neighborhood would have block parties on Memorial Day and Independence Day.  At Christmas, our neighbor Eli would host a Christmas party.  A small group of carolers would go from door to door, singing a variety of songs like Joy to the World, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and The First Noel.  This was our invitation to join them.  We would go around the block, adding one or two more people at each house until we ended up back at Eli’s. 

That first year, I didn’t know anyone. I went to the party, thinking I would only stay for a few minutes, but once we arrived at Eli’s, the songs continued.  There were Christmas songbooks for everyone and we went through the entire book, taking breaks to grab a snack, greet the new arrivals or help decorate their tree. 

Eli and his family welcomed us into their home as if we had always known one another.  As a neighbor, I rarely saw him during the week, and I’m not sure how he earned his living. He would begin planning the annual Christmas party in September, and if we saw one another at the local store, he would ask, no he would insist that the entire family join him in his home.  Over the years I learned, that in addition to his three children and their spouses, guests included his entire staff, neighbors, and even a few clients. 

At some point during the gathering, Eli would share how grateful he was for this Christmas, for family and friends, and especially for the story of our Savior’s birth.  His parties were a part of my life before I even acknowledged that God was calling me to ministry.  And yet, the way Eli recounted the story of our Savior’s birth was as meaningful to me as the many Christmas Eve services I have attended and led.

In just over a week, we will gather in our worship spaces, in person or virtually, to once again share the wonder of this very Holy Night.  I never tire of this wondrous story, which is the foundation for our Christian journey. We have only a few short weeks to celebrate the way our Lord became one of us to save us.  So many ways to share these wondrous events, through songs, children’s plays, the lighting of the Advent Wreath, and the Christmas Eve Candle Light service. As we name those who were present on that Holy Night, we relive God’s very special gift to us.

Thank goodness for the innkeeper or their spouse who provided a place for Mary and Joseph to have their baby. I am always amazed at how shepherds were visited by angels who were so excited they had to share the great news of Jesus’ birth.  I love how those same shepherds left their flocks to look upon this very special baby. 

It’s possible my neighbor Eli was inspired by the opening scene in the 1959 film Ben Hur. I share the link below for you.  I know it was Eli’s honor and gift to retell the birth of our Savior each year, for those who came to his home. Jesus’ birth is the beginning of the greatest story ever told.  May we rejoice as we remember how God’s love came to us in the form of a tiny baby.  May you be blessed this Holiday Season.  And Amen.

Midwest District