There are many things you are discovering as you grow up. One of them has to do with all the fantasies we adults have invented for your entertainment. Bugs Bunny is on TV every Saturday morning. The Easter Bunny brings chocolate eggs in colored foil in the spring. Frosty the Snowman comes to life and plays with children. And Santa Claus comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve to bring you presents.
We mean no harm with our tales and make-believe world. Sometimes, though, we may go overboard and try to convince you they are more than imaginary. We blur the line for you between “real” and “pretend.” Talking bunnies, snowmen coming to life, Santa coming down the chimney — these are fun characters for your pleasure. But they are not the same as your Mommy, Uncle Bill, or me.
What bothers me right now, Virginia, is the thought that what most of us call “The Christmas Story” might get caught up in your mind with all the other make-believe things you are coming to recognize as only pretend. I would hate for you to push Baby Jesus out of your world along with Elmo and Frosty or the Easter Bunny and Santa. The story of Jesus is very different. It is the true story of how much God loves you.
We don’t know the exact date of his birth. December 25 was chosen centuries ago when some Christians wanted to turn a festival to the sun into a holy day for Jesus. It’s as good as any other day we might choose, and I find it hard to think Jesus would be upset with anyone for honoring his birth on any day of the year.
It happened almost 2,000 years ago now. In a little town called Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary heard the first cries of a tiny baby. He was more than “precious” or “special.” He was the Son of God. Angels and shepherds worshiped him that night. Eventually people like Anna, Simeon, and the Wise Men paid their homage too. Millions of us worship him still.
I want you to understand why Baby Jesus was born, Virginia. He came to show us how much God loves us and that he wants us to live with him forever.
Jesus grew up and became a man who loved everyone, helped all who would accept his help, and changed people’s lives. He was God among us, and I want you to believe on him and make him the center of your life.
At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee (Luke 2:1-4 NLT).