Below is the article my husband wrote this month for our church newsletter. I think it’s a worthy read and reminder about the Christmas season.
Is Christmas Common?
Every year after Thanksgiving we start to think about Christmas. This is the next big event in the month to come. We think, “Can Christmas really be only a month away?” This is something that we all go through and we see it become the focus of everything on TV, Radio, and in every store that we walk into. I would like to give you a challenge this Christmas.
One great challenge we face is to not view the birth of the Savior as something common, even though Christmas is celebrated for weeks every December year after year. We need to remember that despite how routine our celebration may be at times, what we are actually celebrating was never meant to be something routine or ordinary. We have heard some form of the birth story told in so many different ways, that sometimes we may even be guilty of skimming over parts of Scripture because we have heard it so many times before.
We can easily forget what God says in Matthew 1:22-23, “22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” This is the amazing aspect to this story; God became flesh and dwelled among men (see John 1:14). This is what sets this story apart from other stories. The Eternal One who created the universe and all that is in it, came and lived among His creation.
It is nice that in Matthew’s Gospel “Immanuel” is defined; it takes out the possibility of having a mistaken meaning. Scripture clearly says, “God with us.” This is an astonishing truth that should continue to amaze us year after year. We should be in awe of what God did in the incarnation.
Now we all understand that we cannot and should not be absorbed with the materialistic themes that the world pushes on us at Christmas time. Only the youngest still believe that Christmas is about the stuff. Yet we still get caught up at times and fret over not getting our decorations up in time. We can get bent out of shape when things do not go the way we think it should at our Christmas gathering. We may have objects that we get out at Christmas time or have traditions that we enjoy. These may be reminders of what Christmas really means, but the objects or traditions are not why we celebrate. Christmas does not have to do with the stuff, the decorations, or even how good the food may be. It is all about Him.
As I said earlier we have heard the story many times and many ways. Have you told your children or grandchildren what Christmas means? What if we shared about the first coming of Jesus Christ with someone that has never heard it before? I am asking myself this Christmas season, “Is how I am spending my time, energy, and resources really useful to God? Is this obedient to Him? Is this effective at making disciples?”
I would like to leave you with a couple questions and final thought. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do my Christmas celebrations have to do with celebrating the birth of the Savior?
- How does the way that I celebrate Christmas praise God and bring Him glory?
- Is the Savior at the center of our celebrations this year?
I ask these questions not that you owe me an answer, but because I believe they are good for all of us to answer and ponder. May we each hear from God in the month ahead. May we look for the Savior this Christmas season.