I enjoy the Christmas season and all the falderal that goes with it immensely. But recently, someone challenged my thinking about the reason for celebrating Christmas with “all the trappings.” How often do I romanticize and reminisce on the traditional elements of Christmas without meditating on the reason we even celebrate Christmas? Do I get as excited as the shepherds did when they first met the Messiah? Do I share that excitement with others? Or, have I grown comfortable and lukewarm in my view of Christ’s birth, excited about MY Christmas traditions and observances but far from focused on the ‘Reason for the season’—GOD came to give salvation to the whole world. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the
Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
Consider this case in point: I have often thought it strange that we in more affluent cultures tend to spend more time, money, and thought on what gifts we will give to each other than the presents we will give to Jesus—the guest of honor AND for whom the celebration is all about. Now, don’t get me wrong—I’m not judging individual motives or criticizing the generosity of gift-giving or family traditions; I’m making a general observation about the disconnect between ‘the Reason we celebrate’—Christ’s birth—and what it actually looks like we are celebrating—the spirit of giving, love, and generosity. Again, I’m not denying that giving gifts and spending time celebrating with family aren’t wonderful things—they are. They can be a reflection of Christ’s generous gift to us—His Son. BUT are they? Are we being intentional about remembering Jesus’ birth and sharing that awesome gift with others?
I challenge you to think about whose birthday it is and why we celebrate? What gift can you give Him? We often give gifts that we want people to remember us by because we want to continue sending our love or appreciation. I remember, growing up in Alaska, we often did not have extended family with us for Christmas. My mom would always send little gifts to all the nieces and nephews. She said it was because she wanted them to remember that their Auntie loved them and was thinking of them up in the “frozen north.” Funny, but my cousins often remember those tokens from my mom. They appreciated that she made a concerted effort to connect with them even though she lived thousands of miles away. I don’t know about you, but I often ask family members what they want for Christmas so that what I get them will be meaningful; ask the Jesus what gift He would want from you. What has He asked you to give?
Perhaps you have never met Jesus and have no idea what He wants from you. Just ask Him. Or, if you would like to be introduced to Him, feel free to come down front and chat with Pastor Ben. If you want to know more about Jesus and His life and death, we would love to chat with you. Feel free to fill out your communication card and drop it in the offering bucket or at the Info Desk and we will connect you with you. We also want to invite you to our CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES (3pm & 4:30pm), where Pastor Ben will untangle the meaning of Christmas further.
Consider what gifts you could give Jesus this year.
NOTE: This article was also printed in 2012.