“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
(Luke 2:10–11, esv)
Christmas 2007 in Harare, Zimbabwe, was our most unusual ever. The economy of this country was struggling to survive hyperinflation that year (354 million percent per annum). We had seen our first billion dollar bill in the local currency. It wasn’t that we had no money, because even with money the stores were short of goods. We had to drive 450 miles to Francistown, Botswana, to buy groceries, and if we were doing this then so were most of the other people. Crossing the border was congested, which required early arrival at the border post to avoid crowds of people crossing over to buy food. We were used to being able to give gifts to each other on Christmas Day, but this Christmas wasn’t about gifts as much as it was about the greatest gift, Jesus Christ.
So why was this Christmas one of our most memorable? Without the material exchange of gifts to focus our attention on ourselves we were able to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, and this made Christmas memorable. Imagine what Christmas would be like if instead of giving each other gifts we had a special time of worshiping God for sending Christ. Our time together worshiping Christ and sharing was so much more meaningful that Christmas.
A passage of Scripture that took on new meaning that Christmas was, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10–11). Rather than being caught up in the material parade of things that places focus on us, this Christmas may we learn contentment and celebrate the greatest gift of all, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.