Of course, to be honest with you, I must tell you that I think Jesus was born in a Sukkah during the Feast of Tabernacles sometime around late Fall, most likely in September. All evidence from scripture points that way. But don’t let that make you think I do not celebrate Christmas! I do indeed! I see no reason not to celebrate His birth all year long, and to be more specific, I have my reasons for believing that Jesus was CONCEIVED sometime in December. Just do the math. It confirms a lot for me. If Christ was conceived in Mary's womb around the end of December, about nine months later would have put his birth during the time of The Feast of Tabernacles in late September. So I celebrate the conception of Christ (the Annunciation and Incarnation) in December and the birth of Christ in early fall.
When most people are celebrating the birth of Christ at Christmas in the month of December, I am actually celebrating The Conception of Christ, which I perceive to be even more of a miracle than His birth into our world.
It is truly a major miracle that a virgin gave birth to a child/God who came to save the world and become our greatest King of Kings! What a reason to be celebrating!
I can surely join in on that.
I love the time and enjoy contemplating what must have been going on in Mary's heart during those days. It teaches me so much about how to love Jesus.
When a child is conceived you begin to prepare for the child to come, just as we do when we contemplate and celebrate Advent, therefore; I join in with pure joy in celebrating the season of Advent and I rejoice in the fact that Jesus became our greatest Gift From God.
So I guess you could say lighting the Advent candles is my first contemplation of Jesus during the Christmas season. It makes me think of the child Jesus who was coming to earth; and the man Jesus who will one day return to earth.
Then there is Hanukkah, which I have come to know as a shadow of the coming of The Messiah. It usually falls right in December too. Everything in the telling of the story of the miracle of the oil and the seven more days of light that we see in Hanukkah is a type of Christ coming as the miracle that becomes the light of the world. How appropriate to celebrate the fact of the miracle of His coming close to the time of celebrating the Conception of His life on earth.
This time is yet another glorious reason to discover more of Jesus inside the times of my year.
You might just make this summary pretty simple by saying: I love Christmas so much that I celebrate it four times a year; 1) Advent (anticipating the prophetic birth of Jesus, and anticipating His future return as Messiah and King), 2) Hanukkah (thinking of the prophetic miracle of His coming to be The Light of The World), 3) Christmas Day (celebrating His Conception by The Holy Spirit and recalling the Annunciation of Mary and The Incarnation and all of the things that happened when Mary first learned the Christ Child was living within her) and 4) The Feast of Tabernacles (celebrating the actual birth of Christ.) Now that’s a lot of Jesus and a whole year of celebrating Christmas! That is a lot of celebrating! Why not? We have SO MUCH to celebrate!
I love each part of the season and the way we celebrate His coming to earth in the flesh, and the recognition of Jesus actually stooping down to be like us in order to save us. All of these four celebrations during the year just build on top of each other and reinforce my further celebration of his physical birth at The Feast of Tabernacles, also called Sukkot; the fourth and last time of the year when I celebrate his actual birth. On top of that - I like to celebrate the Epiphany later! We can't leave out the coming of the wise men; but that was probably two years after the birth of Christ and not necessarily in December and they may not have met Jesus in a three sided shelter; but possibly a house in Bethlehem, (and that may be yet another blog post.)
I know He is coming again, and I think of it every time I look up into a black velvet sky and see a star. It makes me remember that star that shone over Bethlehem so long ago and pointed men in the right direction.
I think of Jesus as I put the lights on my tree, and many of the ornaments help to tell the shinning story. I like to share a Jesse tree that tells not only His story, but also the stories of all those before and after Him that have passed all the stories on to us.
I love remembering the way there was no place for Mary and Joseph, and the miracle of how God provided a place for them to stay, a type of "temporary dwelling" so very similar to our earthly bodies as we think of our souls. Also so very similar to the three-sided temporary dewellings (sukkahs) which we build at The Feast of Tabernacles.
I enjoy thinking of the humbleness of that little place and how it was changed in an instant when the child was born. It became all lit up with the voices of the angels and the stars of heaven and suddenly became glorious with the precious gift of life that came down among so much humbleness and turned all the humble into the holy.
I love thinking of how the shepherds heard the good news, and came to see the baby that would save the world.
I love remembering how the wise men followed the bright shinny star to Bethlehem.
I love all of these stories because they have one common thread. Every single story is about people searching for Jesus. They kept seeking Him until they found Him, those shepherds and wise men and many, many others. That is what I like to do most of all at Christmas time; seek Jesus with all of my heart until I find Him. No amount of wrapping paper and tinsel can keep Him out of this day for me. He is always there, just quietly waiting to teach us more of His story, always bringing light into the darkness, always making all things new.
I love that God made all of these things so perfect, so delightful, so right and so wonderful; with no contradictions and no complications, just a flood of pure genuine joy and love that arrives in perfect timing.
I cherish every Christmas thought about Jesus, and these thoughts bring me comfort as we move on through the year. The stories stay in my heart way beyond Christmas Day. Their light carries over into the ordinary days and makes them shine too.