In the corner of my living room growing up, stood a seven foot tall Christmas tree, adorned with candy canes and crafts; strung with lights and covered in tinsel. Now as beautiful as this tree was every year, it took me about ten years to realize that there was anything actually ON the tree. My little eyes were distracted from the bling of the tree and firmly fixed only on what was UNDER the tree. To me, the elaborate “green thing” merely was the roof over the head of the good stuff. Under that tree lay a collection of gifts for me and my family.
I could hardly wait for Christmas to come each year so we could open the presents. Now, when I say, “could hardly wait,” I mean it. I really seldom did wait. When my mom was on the phone, I would hold up the white part of the paper (Santa’s beard came in very handy) to the Christmas light to see if I could decipher what was beneath the paper. One year, I even got so bold as to unwrap one present before school one day, then rewrap it in its same paper, all without getting caught. As a kid, for me a huge highlight of Christmas was the presents. My guess is that this is not that uncommon an experience.
I was thinking of this today as I was re-reading the Christmas story from the first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke. Wrapped inside these pages are many beautiful Christmas decorations. There is the little town of Bethlehem. There are herald angels singing. There are shepherds watching their flocks by night. There are the faithful coming to the manger. In fact, as I look at all the action that happens in these verses, I am left with the conclusion that this night was not all that silent . . . but it certainly was holy. All the decoration that we see in Luke 2, we have seen for far more than ten years. But as we look at the decoration ON this night, let us not forget to look at the significance that lies UNDER this night. With childlike eyes, let us not merely look at the bling, but let us merely see this stuff as the roof over the head of the Great Savior. You see, under these decorations lies the ultimate Gift for all mankind, Jesus Christ the Lord.
In the dark streets of the little town of Bethlehem, shone an everlasting light. The herald angels were singing “Glory to the newborn King!” While the shepherds watched their flocks by night, glory shone around them. The faithful came and beheld the birth of the King of Angels! Indeed everything on that night pointed to the birth of Christ, the perfect gift was wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying away in a manger. What lay under that night sky was God Himself.
This Christmas season, don’t just look at all the things going on. Don’t merely look at all the decorations and attend all the parties. This Christmas, look under the tree. With childlike faith, fix your gaze intently on the Savior. Let the highlight of your Christmas be the reminder of His presence.
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11