For those of us that you have blessed with children, you have also blessed us with the resources to honor your birth with special gifts and toys on Christmas Day. And through your grace, you’ve brought friends and family members into our lives that have done the same.
Now, occasionally, those blessed toys arrive to our homes unassembled. And somehow they arrive with more pieces than is even fathomable. And usually, they arrive with directions that are in French or Chinese. Although it could be Latin or even pig-Latin. But through this laborious process, which in itself can be a test of faith- in our hand-eye coordination- I’m reminded of how there really can and should be a list of instructions on how to celebrate Christ’s birth and Christmas Day. So I’ve taken the liberty of making a short list of five instructions on How To Assemble A Merry Christmas. And it’s not even in Chinese…
Step One- First, follow the instructions and discover the main part.
A Merry Christmas begins and ends with a baby in a manger. Short and sweet- but through all of the noise and all of the holiday clutter, it comes down to a baby in a manger.
Step Two- Get someone else to help you celebrate.
No time of the year is more profitable for the soul than Christmas. The shepherds increased their joy by spreading the good news of Jesus' birth and we can do the same. Like we’ve done here tonight, surround yourself with as many family and friends as you can to share this gift.
Step Three- Take time to think it through.
The message of Christmas is not in the fact that we buy gifts or decorate buildings. If anything, that commercialism can distract us from just simply celebrating the real blessings and gifts you bring us throughout the year.
Fourth- Don't throw any of the parts away.
Every detail that surrounds Christmas is important and must not be forgotten. If it becomes lost then our Merry Christmas is just a poor facsimile of the original. Center our traditions and celebration around the things that remind us of that blessed event- that goes for Christ’s birth as well as every family gathering that celebrates that birth.
Step Five- Don't stop until the job is done.
A Merry Christmas just begins in December. It continues the whole year through. Let the joy of Christmas change you. Carry it’s principles with you 365 days a year.
These five steps to assemble a Merry Christmas are clear, if not always easy. It takes a little effort. Heaven knows, however, it’s worth every effort.
O God, bless our family and all its members and friends;
bind us together by your love.
Give us kindness and patience to support each other;
and wisdom in all we do.
Let the gift of your peace come into our hearts and remain with us.
May we rejoice in your blessings for all our days.