The Christmas season sure can get crazy quick, can’t it?

Mall parking lots turn into battlegrounds. Sinatra sounds through department store speakers as mothers trample one another to get a few bucks off the newest video game. Toddlers scream on the lap of old Saint Nick and parents buy the overpriced photos. All the while, caffeinated shoppers pull all-nighters after stuffing (and re-stuffing) themselves to the brim with turkey and all the trimmings.

In the midst of all of the red and green propaganda, it sure is easy to forget how far we have come.

2,000 years ago the savior of the world was born not into luxury, but in a dark, cold, stable. God himself, took on skin that we may be freed from our sin, and He did so in the lowliest of conditions.

Why is that? God could have come with chariots of fire. He could have declared His kingship and demanded to be waited on hand and foot, but instead . . . a baby. He lived a humble life, He worked hard and devoted Himself. And of course the greatest gift we could ever receive was one not deserved, but given in grace. The God of the universe hung on an old rugged tree to forever pardon us from eternal separation from God.

I am not saying don’t partake in holiday festivities. There is nothing wrong with them when held in the right perspective. But take a moment and imagine how Mary felt trying to find shelter to deliver her baby and being forced to refuge inside a stable. As you decorate your Christmas tree with your family, take a moment and discuss the symbolism of the great tree that held our Savior in His last moments here on earth, and what his grace gift now means for your family. And as you delve out presents on Christmas morning, take a moment to welcome the ultimate present—His presence.

Heat up the cocoa, crank up the carols, enjoy your Christmas, but don’t forget where it all began. Merry Christmas to you and yours.