At Thanksgiving we ask, “what are you thankful for?” At Christmas we ask, “What does Christmas mean to you?” Just as the responses at Thanksgiving include the typical answers, Christmas is no different. We “check the boxes” of expectation at this time of year. Christmas tree is up – check. 12 Days of Christmas gifts for the kids, check. The Elf on the Shelf has done something else creative our friends will be jealous of, check! Special clothes for the Candlelight Christmas Eve service, check! Keep Jesus as the “Reason for the Season,” check! With all this hard work we put in to show we know why we are celebrating and if Jesus is the reason for the season, why doesn’t it “feel” like Christmas?
Great question, and I think I know the answer. We currently live in a society that tells us to live our own truth. That truth is based on personal feelings and is subjective to our circumstances. But for practicing Christians, we know that Jesus turns this type of thinking upside down. In fact, He tells us that He is the Truth. In John 14:6, Jesus tells us, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". At this time of the year (the arrival of the Christ), our enemy is working his hardest to distract us from the fulfilled promises all around us. To get our eyes off God, Satan tempts us with the trappings of the social holiday we find ourselves in at this very moment. As we use social media to test our level of Christmas Commitment (decorations, clothes, outings, perfect family Christmas card), we lose focus on the truths God has given us in Scripture. A simple reading of the Nativity, the promises Jesus makes to us in His teachings to the disciples, the events after the discovery of the Empty Tomb all point our spiritual gaze to what really matters. We can see that God has so much more for us than simply going through the motions of the date on the calendar. The pressure of unrealistic expectations that we put upon ourselves and others to grab that “magical feeling” leave us all empty and in want. That is exactly where Satan wants us and the opposite of where God leads us.
This Christmas, as in all Christmas past, God is inviting us to pause and reflect on the great love He has for us in the wonderful gift of His Son. We must understand that the catchphrase “Jesus Is the Reason for the Season” is more than a pin on our coat or a plaque we bring out of storage and hang on our wall at this time of year. It is the truth that sets us free!
What does Christmas mean to you? Take some time to ponder on that. If what you are “doing” doesn’t reflect what you are feeling, maybe you need to make some changes. Maybe it doesn’t “feel” like Christmas because you have lost the practice of what it means to celebrate the arrival of the Christ. You still have time to make the changes that will bring your focus back on the Savior!
Go back and read the actual Christmas story (Luke 1-2 or Matthew 1-2). Share this with your family and friends and offer them a glimpse into the most powerful story in the history of our world.
Serving the Savior,
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