How easy it is to go on auto pilot during the Christmas season.

*Decorate tree and house – Check

*Play Christmas CDs – Check

*Sing Christmas carols in church – Check

*Participate or attend Christmas programs – Check

*Plan Christmas festivities – Check

*Attend Christmas parties – Check

*Buy and wrap presents not leaving anyone out – Check

*Try to tame concerns about how much money is being spent – Check

*Attend Christmas Eve Service – Check

*Read Christmas story – Check

*Open presents – Check

*Get together for big meals – Check

*Take everything down and put away – Check

Routine. Habits. Traditions. But is that what this season is about? No.

We participate in all these great things during Christmas, many of which may even be very spiritual, but still often miss the opportunity to truly let the real meaning of this season penetrate our hearts.

We can recite the Christmas story like we retell a grocery shopping happening last week. We know all the words to traditional Christmas carols like we know the national anthem. We know Jesus was born to a virgin like we know an acquaintance that had an unexpected baby.

It too often is just rote.

Our Lord Jesus was rich – the eternal Son of God in heaven!! Yet He set aside His glory and became poor. He accepted the restrictions of a baby and was born as an infant in a filthy stable in the lowliest of circumstances. Why? To identify with us, and to be able to truly represent humanity so He could later take the enormous weight of our multitude of sins upon himself, die a gruesome death and rise again—just so we could spend eternity with Him.

He became poor so we could become eternally rich! What sacrifice! What unfathomable love!!

When you sing Christmas carols or attend a Christmas program this year, ponder the lyrics to the familiar carols and let their meaning penetrate your heart. When you read the Christmas story, meditate on the FULL story – the redeeming grace of God, the perfect and everlasting love of Christ, the sacrifice and substitution of Jesus for our sins, the hope we have because of our rich eternal inheritance forevermore as a result of this one Holy Night.