I know that we all agree that Mary being pregnant as a 14 year old virgin - by the Holy Spirit of God - is an extraordinary event - a miracle from God.
Yet, my challenge to you today is to take this extraordinary event and limit yourself to an "ordinary" celebration of what God has done for us.
Let me explain.
Joe Queenan, a writer for the New York Times and the magazine, GQ, criticizes what he calls our culture's "inability to accept the ordinary."
He writes that we insist that "every experience be a watershed, every meal extraordinary, every friendship epochal, every concert superb, every sunset meta-celestial - nothing can ever again be exactly what it was in the first place - ordinary."
In today's world, we all feel the pressure to make the Christmas Season - that much better - than the year before. We put pressure on ourselves and on other people to make Christmas Eve and Christmas Day utterly fantastic.
Have you ever driven around your neighborhood and seen homes that are lit up like the home in the movie, "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation?"
Over the top.
Christmas can become a competition of "who has the best celebration," to "who gave and received the best gifts," to "how big of a celebration we can have."
And at the end of the season we finally collapse on the coach, exhausted.
Christian author, Michael Horton writes this (in response to Queenan's quote): "Today we feel the pressure to have our weddings look like the cover of a bridal magazine or movie set. Our marriages have to be made in heaven, even though we're very much on earth. Our presentations at work have to dazzle. Our kids have to make the dean's list and get into the best graduate schools - nothing short of "brilliant" and "groundbreaking" will satisfy if you want a good job. When we do stop and smell the roses, it has to be an unforgettable package at an amazing resort. It is not enough to enjoy recreation at a public park, but extreme sports are what really interest us."
Can I ask you to consider something? Why not applaud heaven for this extraordinary birth by spending Christmas Day in a very ordinary way - thinking of Jesus - deepening your relationship with family and friends - and retaining your sanity.
Just a thought for a Tuesday.