On the Friday after Thanksgiving, our family goes to the same little place every year to get a “real, live” Christmas tree. We bring it home and decorate it that evening. Our kids are 6 and 8 this year so my wife and I are trying to make sure they understand the true meaning of Christmas. This is no easy task with the commercialism they see everywhere, especially all of the Christmas specials on TV.

I mentioned wanting to read the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke to them sometime this season. The next morning Sarah, my six year old comes downstairs carrying my bible ready to read. We started in Luke chapter 1. I would read a paragraph, and then she would read one. In first grade she is learning about punctuation: periods, commas, quotation marks, and exclamation points. She is supposed to read it the way it would really sound.

She was reading when we got to verse 28:

Gabriel appeared to her [Mary] and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28).

She reads this verse with so much enthusiasm it kind of takes me by surprise. She didn’t stop reading until we got to verse 56! She was so excited to hear how Mary found out she was going to be the mother of Jesus! I’ve read or heard this story so many times I had forgotten how amazing it is. Jesus tells us in Mark 10: “I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15 NLT)

I needed to be reminded that the real magic of Christmas is that God sent his son to earth through an innocent young girl to be born in a stable, live among regular people, die for our sins, and then rise again to rule the entire universe! Now that’s something to be excited about!!