Last night was our town’s annual Christmas parade. We haven’t missed one in twenty-three years. My husband is like a little kid at Christmas, dancing around and acting giddy when he sees the floats, lights, and marching bands. He claps his hands like a child at the clowns on tiny motorcycles and riders on horses, and dutifully stands at attention when our country’s flag comes by. Even last night, Hank said, “Jaycie, stand at attention when our flag comes by,” as he saluted the red, white and blue. As in all of life, even at a parade, my husband endeavors to be an example to our children. We want them to know what’s important in life. We also want them to enjoy childhood… it’s much too brief!
So why do we brave the cold, bundle up the babies, and hunt for that elusive parking spot to attend a Christmas parade? Of course, for the last seventeen years, we’ve had at least one of our own children marching in a band, so we certainly wouldn’t miss that! But what if we didn’t have a child in the parade?
What’s the big deal? Why do we even have a Christmas parade?
Practically speaking, there are lots of reasons. Businesses, department stores and politicians participate to advertise their name, products or services. Firetrucks and police vehicles and staff participate to spread good will and encourage a community cohesiveness we all desire. Last night, as in every parade, we saw cotton candy vendors and peddlers of glow-in-the-dark items. Marching bands participate to provide musical entertainment, give the students practice marching and playing, and (often) because the band programs are paid a small fee which helps their ever-shrinking budget.
Churches participate to spread the message of God coming to earth as a human baby.
Whoa... let me say that again! Churches participate to spread the message of God coming to earth as a human baby. Why would God in Heaven do such a thing? Why not come to earth as a triumphant, rich and powerful king? Why a frail, helpless baby, born to a poor family in a tiny whisper of a town called Bethlehem?
One of the most detailed accounts of what happened is found in Luke Chapter 2. (Thanks to Bible Gateway for making these scriptures available.) Here is a brief excerpt.
4 So Joseph also went … to Bethlehem… 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
Matthew Chapter one tells what happened before all this... when Joseph found out his fiance was pregnant— even though they’d never been physically intimate.
20…An angel of the Lord appeared to [Joseph] in a dream and said, “Joseph… do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
[bctt tweet=””Give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 #inspiringhopeblog” username=”becky_wright”]
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
GOD WITH US. Wow!!! “Gospel” means “good news”. If that’s not good news, I don’t know what is.
So, whatever our reasons for celebrating, whatever draws us to a parade on a cold night, this is the most important. Have a blessed Christmas!