Go Tell it on the Mountain!
When I was a kid Christmas time was the best time of the year. I’d start circling things in the Sears Catalogue weeks or months in advance. It was great to dream of what I might find under the tree.
When I was 16 I wanted the Texas Instruments TI-99 computer. They had come down to about $100. Only they were scarcer than any Cabbage patch doll or Tickle me Elmo ever was. My parents tried their best to get me one of those TI-99’s. They had friends in 10 cities trying to buy one.
I found one in the Apopka Wal-mart. I bought it. I wrapped it. I snuck it under our tree way in the back. On the tag I wrote “TO: Jerry; FROM: Santa” in clear block letters. So Christmas morning all the presents are doled out. I’m looking with anticipation saying, “I sure hope you guys got what I wanted,” and stuff. “No we didn’t. We tried.” “I don’t believe you.” “Well, I’m sorry but it’s true.”
This went on all morning. Then someone pulls this big package out from behind the tree. TO: Jerry FROM: Santa. All the adults are looking at each other. My mom and dad, My grandmother. Everyone is shrugging and shaking their head. “I knew it! I knew it!” I holler and tear the thing open. “A TI-99, aTI-99 Whoo Hoo!”
Now they’re looking at each other saying, “Not me…not me…not me.” It was a Christmas Miracle on Airport Blvd! I let them all wonder and finally said, “It must have really been Santa.” At this point they were ready to believe anything.
For the kids, Christmas holds a lot of promise. It really is the most wonderful time of the year when you’re little. As we grow older though, these words carry an entirely different weight, don’t they? I know for some of us, Christmastime speaks panic into our hearts and lives. It’s about the pressure of shopping.
[By the way, I did finally tell my parents the truth about Santa and me buying the TI-99.]
Not only the shopping. It’s about things that need to be done and haven’t gotten done. Cookies to bake, cards to get out, parties to attend. Then there’s the decorating. Hanging the lights, putting up the tree. Some of you put up TWO trees! You overachievers. I knew a lady growing up that put up 18 Christmas trees in her house every year.
It’s not just the shopping and the decorating that freaks us out when we hear “It’s time for Christmas.” There is just so much to do, isn’t there? We have such a huge month ahead of us every time the calendar page turns from November to December. “It’s time for Christmas,” causes us to immediately start to worry about whether this month is going to go as planned or not.
You may have had some rotten Decembers, some rotten Christmases, and you may be thinking it’s going to be a rotten one this year. It does not have to be that way. It can be a be better because the true news about Christmas is the Good News about what God has done. Why not make it the best season?
Beginning with the choice: It’s time to share the Good News. It’s a choice to share the Good News because Christmas at its core is about the Good News. Everything else about Christmas is just decoration for this celebration of the Good News that Jesus Christ has come into the world. That is the real meaning of Christmas.
One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Go Tell it on the Mountain.” When our son Joshua was only 4 years old, he went St Peter’s pre-school. They did a Christmas musical every year, and we were debating on going or not. We just didn’t have another night to spare, so we told his teacher we probably wouldn’t make it. She was like, “Oh no. You gotta make it! Josh is one of our two best singers.” I’m thinking, “Yeah, well we’re busy, lady.” But, we decided to go.
So, we arrive and take our seats and there are all these parents with video cameras and lights, and you know the drill. Then Josh’s class of about 20-25 four year olds get up there and the music starts for “Go Tell it on the Mountain.” And I’m blown away. When his teacher said, “One of our two best singers,” what she really meant was one of the two loudest 4 year olds on the planet. I mean these two boys belt this song out so loud people start hooting and hollering. Their little veins are sticking out on their necks and heads and they are SO serious. “GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN THAT JESUS CHRIST IS BORN!”
By the end I was just balling. Somewhere during that song, it hit me. That’s how we all should be. We should be shouting it from the mountains. That Jesus Christ is born! We should be sharing the Good News! If you miss that, you miss the joy of Christmas. Look what happened that first Christmas.
Luke 2:10 “but the angel reassured them, “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.”
So the shepherds went and checked this out and saw the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. After that happened,
Luke 2:17 “After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel said to them about this child.”
That’s it! That’s what the Good News is all about. Someone told them. They went and checked it out. Then they told someone else. That’s what Christmas is all about.
That’s one of the joys of Christmas, the joy of telling the Good News.