Reclaiming the Wonder of Christmas

Reclaiming the Wonder of Christmas | by Jamie Rohrbaugh | FromHisPresence.comHave you ever felt guilty about celebrating Christmas because there are so many naysaying, doom-and-glooming, “Christmas is a pagan holiday” people out there? If so, you’re not alone … and I wanted to share my story with you today about reclaiming the wonder of Christmas.

Here’s my story:

I leaned forward in my seat, caught up by the music coming from the choir and symphony orchestra. It was the church’s annual Christmas concert, and the melodies coming from the stage pulled at my heartstrings. Strangely, though, the music made me both happy and sad at the same time.

You see, I grew up in a very legalistic religious environment.

In that tradition, joy was not a highly-valued character trait. Neither was hope. Instead, the people around me endorsed somber attitudes, doom-and-gloom, and a lot of conspiracy theories. The theology I was taught included the theory that “Christmas is a pagan holiday.”

My family celebrated Christmas anyway, but I didn’t feel the joy of the season. How could I be joyful while I was being told that I was sinning against God?

Fast forward many years. There I was, a woman in my mid-thirties, sitting in a church listening to the wondrous melodies of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “O Holy Night.” I was trying to worship with everyone else, and I may have succeeded … halfway. However, the other half of me was wracked with worry and condemnation. Was I sinning against God by celebrating what I had always been told was a pagan holiday?

In that moment, sitting in that church seat, I cried out to God for help.

I prayed, “Lord, I want to enjoy Christmas. I want to celebrate Your birth. I want to worship You as Emmanuel, without feeling condemned for it. Please help me. Give me back the wonder of Christmas.”

It was a start.

Max Lucado’s movie “The Christmas Candle” came out that year, and my husband and I went to see it. As the story rolled across the screen, I realized that I was watching a Christmas movie and actually feeling “Christmas-y” while I did so. I was suddenly inspired to decorate a tree, cook special meals, spend time with my family in special ways, and—yes—even hang a stocking by the chimney with care.

More importantly, I was overcome with wonder at the miracle of the Christ-child.

I suddenly saw the beauty of my Lord Jesus, the King of Heaven and earth, who humbled Himself and came to earth as a man. I saw the beauty of His heart, even as He was a babe lying in that manger, so submitted to the Father’s will. What kind of God divests Himself of His royal privilege and stoops so low?

And mostly, I saw the miracle of Emmanuel.

In my mind’s eye, I saw this Baby lying so humbly in His bed of straw, come to dwell among men. This same Jesus flung the galaxies into their places with a flick of His fingers. This same Jesus is celebrated, worshiped, and adored by all the hosts of Heaven.

This Jesus came to live with men—with me. He came to walk and talk among us. We got to touch and talk with Him. We got to eat with Him, walk with Him, and listen to His teachings in person with enraptured ears.

Emmanuel. God with us.

God, Himself, with US.

I had been missing the wonder of Emmanuel all this time. That year, however, the Lord redeemed my sense of Christmas.

To be perfectly honest, I have no idea if the Christmas holiday has any undesirable traditions associated with it from medieval history or not. But to be just as honest, I don’t care.

Why?

Because any traditions associated with any Christmases other than the first one don’t matter to me. It’s that first Christmas that makes all the difference …

… because once I was lost, but now I am found.

Once I was caught up in sin, but now I’ve been forgiven. Once, I was hateful, angry, vengeful, bitter, depressed, and suicidal, but now I’ve been redeemed. My life has been changed. I’ve been healed, restored, made whole, filled with joy and gladness, and all my sorrow and sighing has fled away.

And all that happened because of this Baby, the Christ-child.

It happened because the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory: the glory of the only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. I now have a new life because this Baby chose to humble Himself and come to earth as a man, walk among us, and trudge one day up a lonely hill called Calvary, pouring out His life-blood for you and me.

Today, though, He’s alive and doing well. He didn’t stay in that grave. And because of His life, I can live also.

But none of these things ever would have happened if He had not first come to earth as a Baby and lain in a manger, when there was no room for Him in the inn.

That’s why I choose to celebrate Christmas—no matter what any naysayers, gloom-and-doomers, or conspiracy theorists think.

I celebrate Christmas because I need this truth of Emmanuel.

 

Taking a month each year to focus on celebrating the birth of Christ doesn’t even seem like enough. My soul needs this. My spirit needs this. I need this.

I want to experience and celebrate the fullness of God’s Word. I want to stare in wonder and worship at my King, lying in stinky, smelly, dirty bed of straw by choice. I want to join my song with the song of the angels—the song that still echoes down the ages from those shepherds’ fields: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

That “goodwill toward men” changed my life, you see.

So I have decided to thank Him. I have decided to ponder the wonder and miracle of Christmas. I have decided to give honor where honor is due—to Christ the Lord, born a man beneath His privilege.

And just because it tickled us to do so …

Last year, I bought a Nativity scene. This year, I put up a Christmas tree—in October! I hung the stockings with care and have been playing Christmas music for weeks. And all the while, I’ve been gazing at that sweet, little Jesus Boy. Maybe they didn’t know who He was, but I do; and I’m going to worship Him with all the love and passion in my heart, meditating on the miracle of His birth the whole season long.

God rest ye merry, beloved. May the blessing and wonder of Emmanuel be yours this Christmas season as well.

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15 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Tuinidau says:

    Praise the Lord Sis Jamie!!!Halleluya for the great message,a good reminder for Christmas..God bless your family this Christmas

  2. It’s crazy because lately I have been on of those saying Christmas was a pagan holiday not because I don’ t love what it represents but because it was seeming like it had lost it’s meaning. I love Christmas first because all my life I was told it was Jesus’ birthday although it’s not the correct day but also because it’s my birthday and as a child the most exciting this was that I had the same birthday as my savior. But when to commercialism starts to overtake the true meaning it disgusted my spirit but God!! I was having a conversation with my sis in Christ an I was like people get so caught up in how much money is being giving and being spent that we mention Jesus in a moment and the next it’s about the gifts. I thank you for this because Jesus is the reason for any season and he just spoke to me about this the other day because all I know is I never want to grieve his spirit by participating in things not of Him. But he said in all things you do if you do it in remembrance of me then you do good. So much like you Jamie I can celebrate this year because I am not celebrating things but I am celebrating my King!! I love him so much!! Be blessed my sister and keep speaking for the Lord!

    1. OH I do celebrate every year but this year I was having a hard time because of a lot of hurt I had experience but Daddy sent His Spirit to set me free and lady let me tell you I AM FREEEEEEEEE!! AND I CAN FLY AND I CAN LOVE AND I CAN BECAUSE HE SAID IN HIM I COULD . I just have to tell it yesterday I was praying in my heavenly language and MY GOD I felt a cloaking of the spirit it rested upon me I could feel it on my skin and when I woke up this morning it felt like I had on a heavenly robe…l thought I was dreaming but when my alarm went off again I knew it was real!THANK YOU DADDY I REVIECE IT ALL IN THE MIGHTY NAME OF JESUS I AM SO GRATEFUL I FOUND THIS PAGE I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO GIVE AND SUPPORT LIKE I WANT BECAUSE OF MY FINANCES BUT THEY HAVE BEEN SET FREE AND I KNOW MY BARN IS ABOUT TO OVERFLOW!!!

    2. Raised in a full gospel home, with no Christmas [email protected] home.. But..It began in 1980. I set up 3 full size Christmas trees in my home including a full size heavy snow laden one in my PRAYER ROOM which faced the Main street. Since then
      as many as 13 full size trees inside. I love Christmas.
      Installing Christmas trees and décor inside peoples homes and making incredible Christmas memories for others is one of my greatest joys!
      Getting involved in church holiday productions, the bigger the better, with numerous replays, using the god given talents to inspire, uplift: even wrapping packages that are magical to even me! YES! on a mission to make someone happy!!

      Why do I light up for all things Christmas? One reason!
      IN A SINGLE STARLIT NIGHT…
      GOD CAME TO EARTH AND WITH HIS FIRST BREATH, RELEASED AN UNSTOPABLE LIVING SPIRIT OF GIVING, LOVE, JOY AND HOPE AROUND THE WORLD SO POWERFUL THAT EVEN NOW THE WHOLE WORLD STOPS AND THINKS
      OF SOMEONE OTHER THAN THEMSELVES!!!!!

      LOOK AROUND YOU…..
      for God so loved the world He GAVE………

    3. Venisa Villar says:

      Well said Jamie…thanks for helping to put meaning back in our Christmas’. Continued blessing over you and yours. Merry Christmas!!

  3. Oh Thank you!! I had been struggling with the issue of Christmas from naysayers & gloom & doomers. I prayed sincerely to Papa God and I asked Him where is the true spirit of Christmas? Sure enough Holy Spirit showed up and He told me the holiday is about Jesus & Him alone! Also, to take the love, the hope, and the Peace He gave me and share it with others so they would also be blessed by Jesus’ birth , life, death & resurrection. I too had my tree up October and I bought a Cross with a bell on it and hung it on my tree. I dwell on Jesus and all He has done, is doing and will do in my life and others! God Bless God!!!

  4. God bless you sis same yeeeh as well. I celebrate Christ Jesus in my life and my family for what He has done for us.

  5. Rebecca L Jones says:

    I know the people who thought it was wrong to have a tree, even a minister who spoke of satan Claus. The tree represents His crucifixion to me, I decorated it with crosses, crowns, angels, and other things of sentimental value,even pictures, and I always let the little children I know believe in Santa, but explain St. Nicholas to the older ones. You can always keep Christ in Christmas and in your heart. Oh, and even the Xmas people. It’s the first letter of the Greek for Christ.

  6. I was driving to work again this morning and as I left my subdivision, I was looking at the decorative lights on so many houses already… and I was telling God….”you know…all of this use to be for you.” I was feeling all those same things you speak of and wondering where does this holiday really fit for those who truly are followers of Jesus…the Christ. The original and true reason for the holiday. It is what we make of it. If we think on him, if we love like him, give like him and touch others, then we get Christmas back. Your insight is always right on time and I am grateful that you are always yielding to what Holy Spirit is saying. Bless you and continue to have a very Merry CHRISTMAS season!

  7. Ivonne M. Medrano says:

    Jamie, this is a beautiful testimony thanks for sharing. Personally for me Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays of the entire year , Jesus loves everyone so much that he personally had to come to this earth to redeem us all to himself just the thought that he would lose his beautiful creation his children, US, to an eternal hell was not acceptable to him so he came down from heaven for all of us. To redeem and save us from what we cannot see what can happen to our souls after we die and pass from this earth one day , he loves us that much, and it’s a shame that so many people still today take him for granted.

  8. This message is such a blessing! Thankyou Jamie for your lovely heart and putting the Emmanuel and Goodwill,Peace on earth back into Christmas.May you and all Presence seekers be blessed this Christmas.

  9. Thank you Jamie! I needed to read your testimony. It helps me. I appreciate this.

  10. IRMA NORTJE says:

    Thank you Jamie, This year’s 2021 celebration of Christmas is unique in such a time as this. In this hostile world we turn to the Glory and Grace of our Emmanuel and thank you for reviving the true meaning of The Holy season and spreading the Goodwill to all Mankind. We will rejoice in the Lord, as the Light has come and The Glory of theLord is risen upon us.All Praise, Glory and Honor to our Saviour and Redeemer Jesus Christ. Thank you for your devotion for being a daily divine instrument of peace to uplift the seeking souls and Body of Christ. May you reap the good fruits of your labours of love. The joy of the Lord is our strength. We are blessed to be a blessing. thank you. Irma N

  11. Carla Y Lane says:

    Jesus is the reason for the season. The Christ Child. Emmanuel God with us. Merry Christmas to you Jamie and your Family. Thank you for this post, and reminding us of the real reason for celebrating our Lor’d Birth.

  12. Greetings Jamie,

    christmas is a pagan holiday and it is following the tradition of men… following the world and it’s practices. Putting up christmas trees, wreaths, image of Santa claus, the buying of gifts, and so on… Yahshuah HaMashiach is not in any of this pagan celebration!
    Research the origin behind christmas celebrations such as Roman Saturnalia which was about complete lawlessness, offering sacrifices to false gods and human sacrifices.
    ” Hear the Word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the Lord, learn not the way of the heathen nations and be not dismayed at the signs of the heavens, though they are dismayed at them, For the customs and ordinances of the people’s are false, empty, and futile; it is but a tree which one cuts out of the forest to make for himself a god, the work of the hands of the craftsman with the axe or other tool
    They deck (the idol) with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers so it will not fall apart or move around.
    “(There idols) are like pillars of turned work as upright and stationary and immobile as a palm tree, like scarecrows in a cucumber field they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it possible for them to do good ( and it is not in them)” Jeremiah 10 1-5 Amplified

    ” And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
    Romans 12:2 Kjv
    I pray Abba Father will lead and guide you into His Spirit and truth regarding all pagan holidays and it’s origins.
    Abundant Blessings,
    April H

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