The difference 2000 years makes

Written by Lisa Tyson
Published on December 25, 2020

I do not know about you, but the buildup to Christmas morning is quite the ordeal around the Tyson house. 

Shopping. 

Wrapping. 

More shopping. 

More wrapping. 

Conversations that start out like this: “Mom! I have something else for my Christmas list. Can we make cookies? I want to see the Christmas lights. Can we go ice skating?” 

Larry, the “elf on the shelf,” is keeping watch to take news to Santa about good boys and girls. 

Christmas cookies. Christmas music. Christmas trees. Christmas . . . Christmas . . . Christmas! 

It wasn’t a dream

What a difference two thousand years makes—the focus then was 100 percent on the Messiah. The prophecy fulfilled. The angels and the shepherds. The stable and the manger. A young girl, alone with her fiancé, giving birth in the dirt and hay surrounded by animals. 

We sing, “Silent night, holy night / All is calm, all is bright.” But I bet that it was not calm. It was not bright. And it was not silent. All it was, was holy. 

But no one knew. Christmas came and went. The only celebration were the parents and the shepherds. The shepherds had to come see the baby. Of course they did. After the host of angels’ announcement, they had no choice. 

The other thing is that there were probably only a handful of people who would believe that shepherds had seen angels. Mary and Joseph were two of them who would most certainly believe the “good news of great joy.” 

Honestly, it probably confirmed what the angels had told them: Immanuel had come. 

It wasn’t a dream. 

There really was an angel nine months ago. The baby really was the Savior.

Messiah had come. 

Missing the majesty of the Savior

I do not know what Christmas morning looks like at your house, but I know what it looks like at mine. When my kids were little, Christmas morning started in the middle of the night! 

They would sneak downstairs and look at everything Santa brought and then pretend to be excited like they saw it for the first time when I was standing there with the camera. 

The night before, we would sit down as a family and read the Christmas story from the book of Luke. 

But on Christmas morning, the events in Luke 2 were not exactly at the forefront of our minds. The kids were not thinking about Jesus. We, as parents, were not thinking about Jesus. 

Far more emphasis was placed on oohs and aahs, the things Santa had brought, and their excitement about all of the stuff. 

We were so caught up in the magic of the holiday morning that we completely missed the majesty of the Savior. 

Teaching our children the necessities

What a difference two thousand years makes—the first Christmas was all about the Messiah, but no one really knew. Now, Christmas is all about “Christmas” and everyone knows, but somewhere in the presents and mistletoe, the Messiah is easily lost. 

On this Christmas morning, what will it all be about? 

For sure, it is easy to focus on Santa and gifts. While those traditions are perfectly fine to celebrate, let it primarily be about the majesty of the Messiah! 

COVID has taken a lot away from us this year, and Christmas may look different at your house and in your family. That is okay! The reality is that we foremost celebrate Jesus, even when the world adds all the “stuff.” 

This is what we have to teach our children. 

The righteousness of belief

I am not sure why, but Genesis 15:6 has come to my mind over and over again during this holiday season: “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (NIV). 

I wonder if that was the case with Mary. She believed the Lord, and it was credited to her as righteousness. Joseph, too. And their parents. And the shepherds. 

They could all be trusted with the weight of the glory of God demonstrated in their experiences because they believed him, and he credited to them as righteousness. 

What will your day be filled with?

I want to be the person who is trusted with the weight of God’s glory revealed because I believe him. 

I want to be the kind of parent who raises kids who can be trusted with the weight of God’s glory revealed because they believe him. 

I want my Christmas Day to be filled with the majesty of the Messiah and not the preciousness of presents. 

I want my kids to be okay with the simplicity of the manger scene more than the extravagance of the gifts they receive. 

I want my kids to delight in the majesty of the Savior. 

Live perfectly imperfect

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Lisa Tyson

My name is Lisa Tyson. I am a Baylor graduate, have been married to the only man I have ever loved for the past 24 years, and we have 3 perfectly imperfect children — 20 (rising Jr. at Texas Tech), 17 (rising Senior), and 12 (rising 7th grader). Our oldest two are boys and the youngest is a sweet and spicy girl. I run my own practice as an Educational Diagnostician working with school districts to identify and serve their bilingual students while my husband works in the Operations Department for our church. I speak Spanish fluency and I love to read and scrapbook. One of my many life verses is, “She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future” (Proverbs 31:25). I am far from an Insta-mazing wife and mom — we eat the same leftovers over and over, I forget every picture day, and I had to buy my middle child new socks and underwear when I packed all of his and sent them to college with his brother (in an effort to not forget anything). But one thing I do well is this: I remember that the Lord has lavished us with His grace and nothing that touches our family is by accident. So we press on and push through knowing that He has always been faithful — no matter what.

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