Christmas is the world’s most celebrated event. It is both a religious day of remembrance as well as an international cultural and commercial phenomenon. People around the world rejoice as a poor carpenter pledged to a virgin girl named Mary gives birth to a baby who would become The Savior of the world.
Margot* celebrates by reflecting on her past. Looking back allows her to take stock, re-frame, and move forward with the things that have impacted her most as a Deaf believer. One of those things is the birth of Jesus.
Margot’s pastor steps up to the pulpit. As the pastor turns the pages of his Bible, the church recites the familiar Christmas story. Margot follows along with the interpreter, nodding her head in agreement, just like she had in previous years.
She no longer thought of the birth of Jesus as a seasonal story that people recite, but as a significant and personal narrative connecting all of humanity back to the Savior of the world. Margot finally understood!
As the story flowed from the narrator’s hands and face, Margot choked back tears. All those years she had just followed along, she had missed many elements of the birth of Jesus in the written Bible text. Her heart stirred as she watched the story unfold through fluid movements in her language: how the angel visited Mary, and how the lowly couple gave honor and glory to God and surrendered their lives to Him. She could see the details surrounding Christ’s birth – they were so clear in her sign language! She understood why God sent the pregnant couple away for safety and who visited the baby in the manger, and why the exact timing of God’s plan was for everything to work out for His glory.
Everything changed after that. Margot no longer thought of the birth of Jesus as a seasonal story that people recite, but as a significant and personal narrative connecting all of humanity back to the Savior of the world. The Christmas Story in American Sign Language gave Margot a firm foundation of faith, starting with the birth of the Savior.
Because Bible content is available in Margot’s sign language, she can celebrate the new year, looking forward to her next Christmas with awe and wonder, the way the season is meant to be experienced.
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”1 Corinthians 3:11