The angels announced the “good news of great joy” to those terrified shepherds in the field. And still today, the Church proclaims that same “good news of great joy” into our world as well. Thankfully, we don’t receive that news with “terror!” But we do celebrate it with a lot of busyness and stress.
December, after all, is a busy time! Holiday parties, concerts, celebrations, family, food, presents, and more. It’s a time of great joy! It’s also a time of great stress. With all the rushing and buying and traveling and singing, it’s easy to be so consumed by what we need to do that we forget why we are doing it.
Maybe you’ve heard Zion is not having a children’s Christmas Program this year. While we did have a number of faithful volunteers offer their time and energy to it, for various reasons it just didn’t come together. There are a number of reasons for this, but I wonder if one reason we’ve broken a long tradition of the program is that in some ways it has become “just one more thing to do.”
But our Lord tells us that He works all things for good for those who love Him. And one good thing from this is that there is a lesson to be learned. There are always more and more opportunities to do stuff, and in their own way many of them are good and worthwhile. But as we become more and more busy doing stuff, we quickly realize we can’t do them all. There are just too many choices! With all the “things” going on, it’s too easy to forget “why” we are doing it.
So maybe this year as we don’t have a Christmas program, we can take this as an opportunity to reflect on why we try to do it. Even more than the cute costumes and sacks of candy, the Christmas program is an opportunity to teach our children about the birth of Jesus. That’s the why. Jesus, the Word made flesh, has stepped into His creation to be our brother, and our savior. And our kids need to know that more than ever.
So all is not lost. We still have plenty of opportunities to proclaim Jesus’ birth. Let’s take the “extra time” we have by not having a program to focus on doing just that. Bring your kids to Advent and Christmas services. Sing Christmas carols at home. Pick up one of the Advent devotionals at church and pray them with your kids. Maybe even teach your kids about the real Saint Nicholas, the fiery and compassionate pastor from Myra.
And fear not! We’ll still pass out the candy sacks during Sunday School.