Christmas Memories – Advent Devotion
November 30, 2020
A tale of two Christmases
Luke 2:15-17; Matthew 2:9-11
When I was much younger, back in the 1950s and 60’s, my family would celebrate two Christmases each year. Our first celebration was on Christmas Eve. Every year our family would go over to my Grandparent’s house (my mother’s parents) on Christmas Eve.
All of my aunts, uncles, and cousins on that side of the family would be there. We’d enjoy each other’s company until about midnight, talking and playing games. That’s when dinner was served.
This wasn’t any ordinary dinner. This was a dinner of turkey, roast, beef, salads, and all the trimmings. I can’t remember if we exchanged gifts after or before dinner, but it was always a fun time.
We generally wouldn’t get home till about 5 a.m. (The reason for this is forthcoming in a devotion called “Sette E Messo.”)
After getting to bed at 5 a.m., my family would get up at 10 a.m. or so on Christmas day. If there were any gifts left to be opened at home, we would do it at that time. Then it was off to Grandma and Grandpa’s house (my Dad’s parents) for Christmas number two. My grandparents lived about four blocks from Wrigley Field in Chicago, so in my teen years, I would drive to their place, park there with my friends, go say hi to my grandparents, and then walk to the game.
Sorry, I digressed for a moment. 😊 At my Grandparent’s house once again, more aunts, uncles, and cousins, a whole lot of Italian food, gifts, conversations, and television (yes, most of it was black and white back then.)
We’d finally head home about 8 p.m. on Christmas Day, with my entire family thoroughly exhausted. Thus, ended another year of two Christmases.
Over the years, I’ve often thought to myself that Jesus had two Christmas celebrations too. The first was on that night when He was born and placed in a manger by His parents. Of course, Jesus’ parents celebrated the birth of their first child. Later, Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus were joined by the Shepherds, who had been visited by the angels. The gifts that night were ones of love and adoration.
The second celebration occurred some months later, then the Magi arrived. (Sorry to burst your bubble, but, certainly, they did not show up the night of Christ’s birth. You’ll notice in the passage above it says, “on coming to the house.” Not stable, cave, or barn, but the house.)
The Magi arrived with gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. Gifts meant for a King. And just like the Shepherds the Magi, worshipped Jesus.
The two Christmases that I celebrated when I was young were definitely fun. They were worldly, secular celebrations, although there’s nothing wrong with celebrating the birth of our Savior with family, food, and fun.
The two celebrations for baby Jesus were joyful and worshipful experiences.
Let’s never forget to be in Joyful Worship at Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of the Son of God, who is the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ.