7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. Luke 2:7-8
Last year we were given an advent calendar with all the Biblical characters. Each day you would open a slot and place the characters onto a manger scene. As I was packing up my Christmas decorations last year, I forgot to number the characters so I could remember where they went. As a result, I had to guess who went with what date. The only character I was confident in putting away was Jesus on the 24th…but now I am not so sure.
This Christmas, I have realized that Jesus’ birth occurs before the shepherds, the angels, the wisemen…before all the other characters of Christmas appear. Jesus’ birth is actually not the culmination of the story, but the catalyst of it. All the other characters appear in response to the birth of Jesus.
This has begged the question for me, not “are you ready for the birth of Jesus” but “how are you going to live differently because of Jesus?” What if instead of putting Jesus on the 24th, I put him on December 1st and then spent 24 consecutive days considering how his birth has changed my life?