Christmas is upon once more and the world’s joyous celebration of King Jesus being born in a manger, will be acted out, read through and thought about by multitudes of people across the world. Now I know that we preachers are guilty of thumbing our noses at the busyness of the season with all its clamor and distractions, but I refuse to join that chorus. We warn and warn and warn, until no one’s listening, that all the trips to the stores, with the overspending it brings, will cause us to miss the real reason for the season. I’m not a fan of all the hubbub but I choose not to shrink into Scrooge form and condemn the lights and twinkle of it all. I say, celebrate!
When our son was small, one of his favorite toys was Stretch Armstrong. For those of you unfamiliar with the little, rubber, body building man, allow me to describe him. Imagine a blonde muscle man, in a pair of wrestling tights, that can stretch four times his original size and then bounce back without showing any wear and tear. Impressive, isn’t it. Well, maybe to a boy and his father. It doesn’t take much to humor those of us born with the XY chromosome.
I have always wondered what Stretch was made of that gives him the gift of such elasticity. Probably a well-guarded secret in some laboratory in Sweden. So, what’s the point?
We are all stretched this time of year. Christmas busyness can get the best of us. So, you better slow…, there I go. The preacher promised not to condemn the seasonal madness and he couldn’t resist. I vowed I wouldn’t stick my finger in the plum pudding and it looks as though my hand is headed in that direction. A promise is a promise., but there is something about Armstrong I want you to understand. It has to do with a secret that we, as believers, possess all year long. It’s our elasticity. True, we get stressed and hard-pressed, frazzled by the traffic and hassled by the lines, but we always bounce back. We always return to our original size in a matter of seconds. How is this possible? We have a secret weapon that only the children of God possess.
No matter the tinsel and colorful wrappings that swirl around us, no matter the lights on the house that refuse to twinkle, we know that the greatest gift of all, lives within us. We, who follow Christ, had our own Bethlehem when we came to Him for redemption. The peace and holiness of that night, long ago, keeps us coming back to center, to our original design. So, bring on the madness. Stretch us to the max, ten times our size, and we will simply smile back. Nothing can, and nothing will distract us from the babe born in us. The Christmas Light that lives within outshines any display.