7 Things You Didn’t Know About The 1st Christmas Party
I realize for many we are still one Thanksgiving away from the start of the Christmas season. However, for others it started with the first snow, the first Christmas present you purchased for someone this year (for some that was in January, lol), or the day after Halloween or the elections (depending upon your upbringing). With the start of the Christmas season comes gift wrapping, gift giving to co-workers, gift mailing to our troops and far away family members, and of course, Christmas decorating. But one of my favorite aspects of Christmas is the Christmas party or as I like to call it the Christmas Celebration.
Many people have gotten away from having Christmas parties because the parties have become more about the party than about Christmas (‘ll just leave that thought there). However, Christmas parties used to be about celebrating the true meaning of the season with family, co-workers, friends, and neighbors more than anything else. In fact, we can learn a lot by looking at 7 things you didn’t know or may not have known about the very first Christmas party. A man named Luke researched the Life of Jesus Christ including His birth. He captured his findings in what we today call the book of Luke or the Gospel (good news) of Luke. From that we find the following about the first Christmas party:
- It was God’s idea– In the book of Luke chapter 2 we read about the birth of Jesus Christ. It was God’s idea to send His son, Jesus Christ, as the Savior of humanity, but it was also God’s idea to celebrate that birth and have representatives of Heaven and Earth join in rejoicing about it. In verse 9 of the chapter we read that God sent an angel to tell the shepherds about the very 1st Christmas party.
- It was by personal invite – Although God could have invited anyone and everyone, verse 9 also tells us that God sent an angel to provide a personal invite to some shepherds who just happened to be out on that particular night. He didn’t invite the most popular people, the richest people, or royalty (not even the media made this invite list). He sent an angel to personally invite local people from within the community to come and rejoice and to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
- It took place on Christmas Day – Most people and businesses plan to have their Christmas party weeks or days before Christmas. There was a time when every week in December and every day of the week before Christmas there was a Christmas party being thrown by someone I knew that I would attend. Verse 11 tells us that this first Christmas party took place on the day of Christ’s birth, although in the evening. This is why many congregations used to hold a special service on Christmas day. Most congregations have gotten away from doing that by switching to holding it on Christmas Eve.
- There was a whole lot of music – Verse 13 tells us the party started way before the shepherds got to the house. I can remember playing Christmas music and getting in a happy happy jolly jolly mood before heading out to many a Christmas party. This must be where that tradition started because verse 13 tells us a multitude of heavenly beings appeared and started celebrating. The word multitude is used in the KJV whilst the Amplified and Complete Jewish Bible versions use verbiage indicating there was an army of heavenly beings. The Greek word used is one where we get our English word plethora and it indicates there were a whole lot of angelic beings, a great number. While Luke tells us that they praised God the word He uses for praise is a word commonly used for singing praises. Luke’s verbiage paints the picture that most of us grew up with of a heavenly choir appearing and singing and rejoicing at the birth of Christ before the shepherds even got to the location where Jesus Christ was born.
- There were no gifts exchanged – Despite many of our traditions of exchanging gifts, or white elephant exchanges, there were no gifts given at this party. The shepherds showed up empty handed because they were there to acknowledge humanity’s receipt of the greatest gift ever given in the history of creation: God giving His Son to us.
- There was only one party – Although verses 17 and 18 tell us that the shepherds left the party and immediately began telling others about it, we don’t read of any other gatherings or any other celebrations. There was only one gathering, one celebration, in an un-decorated location that would make Martha Stewart cry if she knew parties were hosted there. But people representing the community gathered there to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Verses 15, 16, and 20 indicate they went eagerly wanting to experience all that had been revealed to them and they left excited and happy and glorifying God. The main reason was…
- It was all about Jesus – The shepherds went to celebrate Jesus, the party was all about Jesus, and they left glorifying and celebrating about Jesus.
This Christmas Eve many congregations will be hosting a Christmas Eve Celebration. If you attend one you can put some of these things into practice by: Inviting a friend or neighbor or co-worker to go with you; invite them personally, not just by text or Facebook invite (although if you invite people that way, try to connect with them personally and let them know you really want them to attend); if you host a Christmas party or attend one somewhere else ensure you invite those people to attend the Christmas Eve Celebration with you and your congregation; help get them in the Christmas mood before the celebration by taking them out for coffee, or lunch, or dinner depending upon the time of the celebration you are attending; but most importantly, let them know in advance that you want them to join you in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
From myself , my family, and the entire Church family of CrossRoads Community Church of Jefferson Hills, have a very merry Christmas and God’s blessings for the New Year.