This is the season of Advent. It began officially last Sunday. You've all heard of Advent calendars, I'm sure. We used to have one for the kids. It had small candies and reminders of Christmas on each day of the countdown. The kids probably looked forward to the candies more than the reminders, but the sense of anticipation lingers even now that they are grown.
It lingers for me, too. I realize it's far more likely Jesus was born in the spring, but to me it doesn't matter when we celebrate. It's what we celebrate that matters.
There are numerous stories that surround the why's of Jesus leaving His throne in heaven for the stable in Bethlehem, but this is one that works for me.
When I was young, nature fascinated me. I would squat (back in those days I still could) next to an ant nest and watch them. If I plopped a stick down in the middle of the busy hive, they would immediately attack it. They would soon decide it was not harmful and ignore it. If I dropped another insect on it they never said thanks for the free meal, but instead they'd attack it like they did the stick, this time as prey or a threat. I wished for some way to tell them which things were nothings and which things were good.
Years later I heard the story of the man wanting to tell the birds in his yard he loved them and would bring them no deliberate harm, wishing he could for a time become a bird so he could communicate with them. The man then had an "ah-hah!" moment--so that's why the Father sent Jesus into the world.
Every Christmastime now seems like an "ah-hah!" season to me. The amazement and realization that God loved us so much He would walk with us for a time, experiencing the cold and heat and sore feet and weariness we feel. He talked to His disciples, explaining and exhibiting the mystery of God's love. He showed them how talking, healing, and just being there demonstrated how much they--and God--cared.
What a wonderous and wise God we serve!