As a kid I remember the dilemma. I was always way too excited to go to sleep, but I knew that if I could fall asleep Christmas morning would come quicker. Eventually I would fall fast asleep only to wake the next morning rather early—usually around 5 am. I would run down the hallway toward my parents’ room and past the living room door (peeking in to see silhouettes of gifts on the floor). The anticipation of Christmas morning was almost too much to bare!
With a whisper, I would say, “Mom, Dad, it’s time to get up!” They would tell me to wake my older siblings and off I’d go to let them know it’s time to get up. Eventually everyone would crawl out of the bed and head down the hall toward the living room. The excitement was overwhelming! The lights would flip on and I’d think, “No way!” Presents were scattered throughout the living room. I remember those days like they were yesterday.
Today, as a husband and father, I have enjoyed watching my three children with similar reactions to Christmas morning over the years. There is something about the sheer excitement of Christmas day that transcends generations (and even cultures). But why?
If we think about it, the first Christmas morning was filled with the same kind of wonder and excitement. Luke tells us in his gospel that the announcement of Jesus’ birth came to the most unlikely—shepherds (Luke 2)! Yet, His birth, as the angel told them, was for them. In other words, the shepherds were the first to receive the greatest gift of all, the reason we celebrate this season today. The angel’s words still bring child-like excitement: “For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
“For me?” thought the shepherds. “Yes, for you!” And for you, too! The shepherds ran to see the baby Jesus and they leave with great excitement telling everyone around—“A Savior has been born for you!” “For me?” “Yes, for you!”
While we give and receive gifts this Christmas, it’s a reminder of the greatest gift ever given, a gift first given to the most unlikely. A gift that changed their world. A gift that they were not content to keep to themselves, but were willing to tell everyone around.
Let us do the same this Christmas. “For unto us a Savior has been born!” May the excitement and wonder of Christmas day compel us to share this great gift of Jesus with all those around us and beyond us.