The Christmas Story
Every year on Christmas Eve, my dad would take out the huge “Family Bible” on the coffee table, open it to Luke, Chapter 2, and would read “The Christmas Story”. This tradition would be followed by a few moments of prayer. Then my mother would assemble us around the piano as she would play Christmas carols, and we would all sing along.
After these important traditions, then and only then, would we be able to open our Christmas gifts, one at a time, in an orderly, respectful fashion.
I have carried on the traditions of reading the Christmas Story and praying before opening our gifts to one another. It helps keep it all in perspective.
I’ve copied the story below. I challenge you to read it out loud this Christmas. After all, THIS is why we celebrate:
“About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire.
Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there.
He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.
There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified.
The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”
At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing.
They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.
Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!”