In our society there seems to be two distinct Christmases.

There is the Christmas filled with Santa Claus, gifts in brightly colored paper, twinkly lights and good cheer of all kinds. There is food in great abundance. People decorate big and bright. They make a big deal out of it from start to Alka Seltzer laden finish. This is the commercial Christmas. As card carrying Christians, when exposed to this monstrosity, we are virtually required to grow faint and go have a little lie down.

Then there is the Christian Christmas of the Nativity, candlelight and prayer. It’s quiet. It’s serene. I’ve actually had Christian friends tell me that they hate Christmas. If you’re a real Christian, apparently, Easter is IT. When confronted by cheer and bright lights, they bemoan the corrupting influence of “commercialism,” hold themselves apart and shuffle down the hall, heads bent, dark robes swaying. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but they would if they could.

Not me. For me, Christmas is an adventure and it started the way that so many adventures do – with the birth of someone who was going to shake things up. In this case, the birth of Jesus. A birth is never a ho hum simple thing. Mary didn’t have an IV or an epidural. She most likely didn’t have a midwife. This wasn’t glitz and glamor but it was big and it was important.

This was life coming into the world in a big way and it deserved a big announcement. God sent an angel. This wasn’t a cute little cherubim with his chubby little cheeks. This was an ANGEL OF GOD. I once saw a pattern for an Advent banner that showed an angel and a shepherd with his sheep. The angel is the height and width of the banner. The tiny shepherd cowers at the angels feet. This is the Christmas angel described by Luke.

Luke 2:8-12
New International Version (NIV)
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

This wasn’t a sedate night under the stars. This was a moment that would change the world. This was a big, Big Angel with big, Big News. Not all glitz and shopping, but not all quiet candlelight either.

What we need to recognize in our society is a third kind of Christmas, a Christmas with the might and power to take its place in the dark of night and the clamor of day. We need the Christmas with the impact of birth and the might of an Angel of God.

We need, in short, to put the Adventure back in.