Scrambled Christmas Signs

I hope you’re enjoying the last-minute hustle and bustle as we prepare for that most magical of holidays.

I get a kick out of stories from children’s Christmas programs. I’ve no clue whether either of these is true, but they’re cute anyway.

While singing “The First Noel,” four kids in the front row held cards with letters spelling N-O-E-L. Unfortunately, as often happens with kids, things got a bit scrambled. Everyone in the audience wondered if LEON was an obscure character in the Christmas story.

In a different program the children held cards spelling a more complicated song title, “Christmas Love.” This time everyone was in order, but the young lady holding the “M” managed to get her card upside-down. At first it looked like just another mistake, but those who looked carefully saw an even more profound message. The inadvertent reversal produced an eternal truth:


This year I’ve been struck by the notion that we’re really celebrating two different events. One is a cultural holiday marked by parties, family gatherings, festive decorations, and gift-giving. This part of the celebration is one part traditional excitement and one part spending frenzy. It’s a lot of fun, and turns most of us—no matter our ages—into children-at-heart.

We’re also marking the most amazing gift ever offered, the moment when God sent His Son into the world.

Both events are causes for joy and wonder, times to stop and reflect and count our blessings. Certainly it’s possible to acknowledge and celebrate both events, or to enjoy one and ignore the other. But let’s not confuse them.

One is a fun cultural event. The other changed the world.

Wherever you’re spending the holiday, I hope it’s a time of peace, joy, and love. And If you see Leon, say hello for me.