The traditions rooted deeply except I don't really think Mary and Joseph sat around staring at dead trees and eating candy out of their socks.
I bet they were exhausted from traveling and discouraged by the lack of places to stay. Then Mary gave birth in the most unsanitary place ever; oh, yeah, and her fiance isn't the father. Now all of the animals want to know where they're supposed to be eating for the next several days because there are some unexpected visitors. Shepherds are being visited by terrifying angels, and magi come bearing expensive gifts--one of which was a burial spice. I think most modern parents would be offended if someone gave them embalming fluid at a baby shower. Just saying.
Big mess! Big message!
God became man. The creator of the universe shoved Himself into a little baby's body. Prophesies and promises fulfilled. Christ, our Lord, born to die for our redemption.
About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.
There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."
At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises:
Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.
Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!
(Luke 2:1-20 MSG)It's a story of real people having the FAITH to do what God called them to do--even if it was uncomfortable.
It's a story of the HOPE given to the world in the form of a baby.
It's a story about JOY bundled into an unusual package.
It's a story about the LOVE my Savior has for me. The LOVE He has for you.
Merry Christmas! Have a blessed day, my friends!