This year I’ve reflected more about the meaning of Christmas than at any other point in my life. Maybe it’s because the commercialization effort seems to double every year or maybe it’s just because I’m getting older.. Whatever the reason, the fact is I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking at Christmas the last few weeks.. I’ve watched and listened to people talk, I’ve asked questions, I’ve read and studied scripture and history and I’ve spent time in prayer. So what did I conclude through all of this?
Our culture and society is in desperate need.. Not in need of lower gas prices or universal health care. Not in need of more jobs and better education.. Not in need of a liberal or conservative President.. What this country and every country around the world are in desperate need of is the very thing it lashes out against – The Gospel!
Far too long we’ve ignored the miracle of the message of the Gospel and our society has suffered because of it.. What does that have to do with Christmas? Well, a lot actually. The attitude of how we approach Christmas today reflects the attitude that we approach every aspect of our lives..
See, today the majority of people celebrate the trap of Christmas and ignore the truth of Christmas. Whether they purposely ignore it or are unknowingly blind, we have a world of people who ignore the Christmas story presented in the Word of God, in favor of a Christmas story presented either by the tradition of their family or the marketing of the business world.
What I’ve learned through my observations and conversations is the sad fact that this is true for believers just as much as it is for the lost world. That’s what has saddened me more than anything else. See, the lost, unbelieving world is just living the only way it knows how. But, for believers, we know better!
Somewhere along the way we’ve come to a place where attending a Christmas Eve candlelight service at church or reading a few verses of scripture before opening presents satisfies our “required religious involvement.”
Now, I’m not going to be the extremist who says getting together with family and exchanging gifts and eating good food is wrong. Of course it’s not! But, when we make those things our central focus and forget the reason we come together to begin with, we’re guilty of idolatry.
I was astonished to learn that there are some churches around the country that are actually canceling or rescheduling Sunday services this year. Really?
Look I know, especially in our current day and age that people have less time off work and more family than ever to visit with, but does time for those family gatherings come at the expense of celebrating the birth of our Savior on Christmas Day?!?
If there’s ever a Sunday for a child of God to assemble with the brethren in worship it’s Christmas Day!
If we can’t find an hour or two on Jesus’ birthday to worship Him among the saints, then that really reflects the attitude and heart we bring to the Kingdom. Following Him costs you something. Following Him causes us to sacrifice. If we aren’t willing, on Christmas, to sacrifice something, then what are we really celebrating anyway? Cuz it ain’t Jesus!
Far too many times we try to make room for Jesus at Christmas, rather than realizing Christmas is Jesus.. We shouldn’t make room for Jesus, we should make room for family, for presents, for everything else.. The birth of our Savior should be first in our hearts and on our minds..
See, it’s the virgin birth that protects and qualifies Jesus to be the sinless Savior of sinful people. Without that, Jesus is just another man infected with sin. No sinner can redeem himself or other sinners. The virgin birth is crucial to our salvation!
So this Christmas, it’s my prayer that we as believers put Jesus in His proper place. It’s also my prayer that we recognize that nonbelievers can’t do that, and we should make every effort to give them a gift.. The best gift, in fact – the message of The Gospel!
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).” (Matthew 1:21-23)
Merry Christmas and be blessed – JH