Luke 2:8-16: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.”

Do you ever wonder if we Christian Americans do Christmas wrong?

It’s not that the things we do at Christmas are bad. Hospitality is good. Connecting with friends and relatives is good. Giving gifts is good, although it can be excessive. The same is true for holiday meals.

But if we’re not careful, all of these good things can cause us to lose focus on the point of the day: The celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. The baby born to a pregnant teenager in a stable. The infant whose family was (at least temporarily) homeless. The baby whose birth was heralded by a host of angels. The child so feared that the tyrant who ruled His land slaughtered every baby boy in the neighborhood in an attempt to prevent Him from ever reaching adulthood. The growing boy who stayed behind in Jerusalem, and whose parents found Him in the temple. The adult man who preached the Gospel, performed miracles, healed the sick, loved the unlovable, ate with tax collectors and sinners, and outwitted the “holy” men who plotted His downfall. The sinless Lamb of God who willingly endured torture, humiliation, and crucifixion so that fallen and desperate human beings could be reconciled to a just and righteous God. The Risen Savior who conquered death and ascended into heaven, promising to return at a day and time known only to His Father.

When teaching a child to hit a baseball, a parent may say, “Keep your eye on the ball.” Otherwise, the child may swing and miss. Friends, let’s not miss the point of the season this Christmas. Let’s not let our eyes be distracted from the One we celebrate. With the angels at Christ’s birth, may we say, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Merry Christmas, friends.