As I write this, I’m surrounded by Christmas. Yes, we waste no time in the Estrada household making preparations for The Day. Since child #1 was home from college over Thanksgiving, all interior decorating had to be accomplished before her departure. And woven flawlessly into her busy social schedule I might add.
Naturally, we have a nativity set. Three, to be exact. This, of course, replicates the actual birth of Christ. With some dramatic license. For those of us who enjoy reading the Christmas story in our bibles, it doesn’t take long for us to figure out that no one ever mentions how many wise men showed up. Could have been two. Could have been twenty. But three is an easy number, and biblical! Besides, twenty wise men would be difficult to pack away in our nativity set box. Not without breaking off several staffs, hands, and the occasional head.
And we also discover that the wise men visited the new King at a house. Apparently they didn’t get their invitation in time to catch the stable viewing. No mention of lowing cattle. No mention of camels.
Just a baby in a manger, Mary, Joseph, and a few shephards.
On the flip side of this Christmas coin, if we look at the Nativity set or read our bible, their is no mention of a tree, holly, ornaments, candy canes, or wrapped presents. Note the only gifts given were to Jesus.
It sure does make one wonder, doesn’t it? I mean, we’re pretty sure we don’t even have the date right. At what point did someone cut down a tree drag it in the house, and throw all those little UA approved strings of multi-colored lights, no two of which have matching plugs?
When did we decide that, since Jesus isn’t here in body, we needed to go to Black Friday sales, max out our already maxed out credit cards, and buy stuff that the intended recipient will grow bored with before Easter? Speaking of…what’s up with the bunny?
What would happen if we stripped away everything that we can’t see in our Nativity set? Better yet. What would happen if we stripped away everything not mentioned in one short chapter of our bibles?
It would come down to a baby in a manger, Mary, Joseph, a few shephards. And you. Since Mary, Joseph, and the shephards will be tough to come by these days, and the baby grew up and died on a cross, it just leaves an exchange of gifts. One of those gifts is the Holy Spirit. He was Christ’s final gift to us upon His ascent to heaven.
That leaves one last gift to give. The one you will give to Jesus. The gift is you.
Perhaps, instead of a Nativity set, a tree, lights, ornaments, and socks on the fireplace, all we need to celebrate Christmas is a mirror. Every 25th of December…wait, that’s not in my bible either. Since we don’t know, better make it every day just to be safe. Every day, take a look in that mirror, and tell the baby in the manger, “This is the gift I give to you…all of me.”
Merry Christmas, Jesus. Every day.