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  • Bob Johnson

Worth celebrating

ROSEVILLE – Sometime in the summer I start planning the layout of my train (now trains) and village display that I set up under and around our Christmas tree. This has admittedly gotten a little out of hand, but I try to tell my wife Cathi, that it is not really my fault. I want to have a train or trolley for each of our grandkids, and we are up to seven.

This means I go to estate and garage sales in search of trains, track, transformers, and any village pieces that I think will work. Then, when the layout goes from paper into form, I send pictures to my grandkids so they can begin to anticipate what it will be. This year I started following some people on YouTube who, even from my view, go bonkers.

The setup takes hours and for a guy like me since I hold a graduate degree in Murphy’s Law. But, if it all comes together and if all the trains, trolleys, lights in the buildings, skaters on the pond, merry-go-round, teacup ride, cable cars, and the hot air balloons work, the result is magical. I can control the tree, village lights, trolleys, rides and trains from my phone. It is pretty neat. But the payoff is when my grandkids see it and the fuses in their little brains explode. I love to do things that cause my grandkids to want to be with me because they know I love them.

I know that December 25 is not the day that Christ was born. I know that the origin of the date is sketchy at best. So, is it worth celebrating Christmas? Are we guilty of making more of this than we should? I don’t think so. In fact, I don’t think we could ever make more of this than we should. Let me explain.

Sometime (before there was time) God designed the universe and before the foundation of the earth was laid, he planned for his Son to come to this earth to live the life that we could not live and die the death that we could not die. God knew that this plan would be almost impossible for us to believe, so he prepared us and spent thousands of years of human history putting into place every piece and along the way, he kept giving us pictures of what the Messiah would be like. God sent prophets who over hundreds of years told us of the One who would come.

Those who had ears to hear (like Simeon and Anna) were waiting and longing for this day. God sent Gabriel, to Zechariah, then Mary, and then Joseph in order to prepare them for this once in a universe event. God was indeed coming to earth to be part of his own creation so that he could do for us what we could never and would never do for ourselves.

And then, it all came together, just like God planned. God is directing it all and all the players and pieces start moving. Elizabeth conceives, then Mary conceives, then John is born, then the decree is given and Joseph and Mary start heading south to Jerusalem, the birth of Christ takes place, angels blow up the sky, and a star appears. Shepherds run to Bethlehem from the fields while wise men start moving from the east.

Do you see it now? Do you see how millions and millions of pieces all work together in perfect harmony to carry out God’s plan to send us a Savior? Do you see the heart of our good God doing all of this in order to blow our minds with his grace? Do you see how much God has done so that you will know he loves you and wants you to want to be with him? So, yes, this event is worth celebrating. What a God! What a Savior! Joy to the world, the Lord has come!



Bob Johnson has been serving as the Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church since 1989. He has a Master of Divinity degree from the Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary (1997).


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