In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 14)

Many years ago, I bought an art book that depicts the life of Jesus but in a different way than most Bible art. The artist, Rien Poortvliet, used simple strokes to capture what Jesus may have looked like as a smiling chubby baby or as a cute toddler. He sketched a young child playing outside and a boy working in his father’s carpenter shop. Most of the time we think of Jesus during His years of ministry, but He grew up in an ordinary home and was part of the everyday life of His small village. The book gave me a glimpse of what it looked like when God became one of us, when He entered my world as a baby so I could understand Him better.

The Christmas story did not begin on a crisp, starry night in Bethlehem. Nor did it begin with the angel’s pronouncement to Mary. The story of God’s great love began with the opening words of Genesis, “In the beginning.” The story weaves through the pages of the Old Testament as prophets foretold the One who was to come. But when He arrived, few recognized the tiny baby as the long-anticipated Messiah. They saw only the ordinary, not the divine.

Christmas is just a few days away, and many of us are caught up in the excitement of the season— lights and tinsel, gifts, celebrations, and family traditions. In the rush of getting everything done, it’s almost like giving a birthday party and then forgetting the Person we are celebrating. We sing “Silent Night” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem” but forget the true meaning behind the words of these familiar carols. Perhaps it is time to pause and reflect.

One of the things I like to do in the days leading up to Christmas is to again read the various passages in the Gospels that tell of Jesus’ birth. Yes, the story is familiar, but I need to remind myself that this baby in a manger is the Creator of the universe and He loves me passionately. I reflect on how He loved me—and you—enough to enter our world and live among us so He could redeem us from our sins. The story of Christmas is really the story of redemption, the story of the greatest love of all.

Thank You, Lord, for coming to my world. You lived as one of us, faced the same challenges and temptations we each face, and then gave Your life that we might live eternally. The Christmas story is the greatest love story ever told. I’m glad You included me.

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Mary enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and spending time with old friends. Although directionally challenged, she would rather take the back roads with their discoveries than the boredom of the interstate.

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