Let’s Not Forget Why We’re Celebrating


When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:15–20

There’s a Christmas classic that doesn’t get quite as much attention as some of the others, but its message is just as heartwarming and inspiring. It is the 1947 classic “The Bishop’s Wife” Cary Grant stars as an angel who has come to help out a bishop—David Niven—who has lost his way.

The movie ends with the bishop preaching the following sermon on Christmas Eve (of course the angel wrote it for him) and it’s still a good reminder for us today.
Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking. Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child’s cry, a blazing star hung over a stable, and wise men came with birthday gifts.  We haven’t forgotten that night down the centuries. We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, with the sound of bells, and with gifts.
But especially with gifts. You give me a book, I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer and Uncle Henry can do with a new pipe. For we forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled, all that is, except one.  And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger. It is his birthday we’re celebrating. Don’t let us ever forget that.  Let us ask ourselves what He would wish for most. And then, let each put in his share, loving kindness, warm hearts, and a stretched out hand of tolerance.
All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.

As we celebrate this season and the New Year, let’s not forget why we’re celebrating. Let’s not be tangled in the trappings and forget the One. Instead, let’s be like the shepherds and Mary so wonderfully illustrated in the Gospel of Luke. The shepherds celebrated and were eager to tell people about this Child, the Savior which is Christ the Lord. And Mary pondered all these wonderful things in her heart. While the shepherds ran and shouted the message, Mary kept it close to her heart. This season let’s do both—shout for the joy of our salvation and, at the same time, ponder in our hearts the beauty, wonder, and free gift of salvation the Savior has brought us.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, my friends.

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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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