Are you bored with the Christmas story?
Recapture the joy of celebrating Jesus' birth this year.
When I was young, one of my favourite parts of the year was the annual kids’ Christmas service at church. The Sunday school would put on a nativity play (or, in some years, make a nativity movie!) and over the years I got to be Mary, a shepherd, the star, a wise man and a lion. Oh yes, didn’t you know there were lions at the birth of Jesus? ;)
As a child, I found the Christmas story utterly captivating. It had everything! A miracle baby, a couple nearly torn apart by scandal, a cast of diverse characters, angels, kings and a bright shining star. I adored the Christmas narrative, and when I was old enough to truly comprehend that the baby in the manger was also the man on the cross who died for, I was even more in love with the nativity.
But now? I’ve lived through 22 Christmases. Shepherds, wise men, star… yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve heard it all before.
It’s hard to be quite so struck by the beauty and wonder of the Christmas story as I was when I was six and I got to play Mary in front of everyone! However I don’t want to be bored with the Christmas story. I want to be like a child again, in awe of the way God arranged everything so perfectly for the birth of the special baby king who would grow up to die for me.
So here is how I’m trying to reignite my love of the Christmas story this year. Maybe you can join me?
Read the Christmas narrative - lots!
The story of the birth of Christ is recorded in two gospels, Luke and Matthew. Both accounts differ slightly in their focus, and this year I’m reading both accounts every few days. This is helping me to engage with the history and reflect regularly on the way that God ordained everything so perfectly. Reflections I’ve had so far include, “Wow Jesus was born into such poverty and squalor - this is a wonderful indication of how willing he would be in adulthood to humble himself for us!”
Sing Christmas songs about the Christmas story
Another way I’m helping myself to reflect on the joy of Christmas is to listen to and sing Christmas carols and songs that are focused on the history of Christmas. Singing and music are joyful things to me so combining that with the Christmas story is bringing back the spark. There’s an article on Fervr about some of these songs that you should check out!
Look at it a new way
Often when we read the Christmas story in the gospels, or hear it read at church, we look at it as outsiders. But instead, I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of the people who were actually there! What would it be like to be told I was pregnant with the son of God? How would I worship him in response to that? How would I respond to a heavenly host of angels above my head? Would I be trusting enough in God to follow a star across countries to seek a new king?
Help the next generation
As a child, I enthusiastically played my part in the nativity play. But now, I’m a little too old to be in the play! However I can help the next generation enjoy the wonder of Christmas by going along to the Christmas Eve service and painting faces or dressing shepherds or singing loudly to help the kids understand the Christmas songs. In doing so, I too will recapture the joy of this special time of year.
Respond in creativity
Now that I can’t play Mary in the nativity play I am seeking a new way to creatively respond to the Christmas story. I’ve decorated our apartment with stars to remind myself and my husband to seek Jesus every day. I’m wrapping presents in gold paper to remind recipients of the precious gifts the wise men brought to Jesus. I have pulled out my guitar and tried to turn my reflections on the gospel into songs.
Being older can make us cynical of the joy we are supposed to feel at Christmas. But the story of Jesus entering our world is so miraculous and incredibly beautiful that even when it’s hard we need to seek the joy of Christmas. Because Jesus didn’t come into the world so that we could get bored and too old for the nativity story. He came to save us, and that’s a joy we should remember every Christmas, and every day.