I was recently involved in a “round table” discussion regarding Christmas. One person remarked, “It’s just all so pagan…I wish they would leave God out of it.”
It’s true that Christmas, as a festive season, is a lot of things rolled into one – the lights, the trees, the reindeer and that chap that squeezes down your chimney while you sleep (the ONLY time you actually leave milk and cookies out for an intruder)… but Christmas is still about remembering the birth of Christ.
The debate around whether we, as God-followers, should be swept up in the twinkly lights and matching snowman jerseys went in circles. Reasons for and against were weighed. A big discussion point was the actual birth date of Jesus. I cannot tell you what to think, but I can share my view on Christmas and what it means to me.
To me, Christmas is about remembering and celebrating the birth of Christ, our Saviour. His birth marked the full commencement of God’s prophecies. It marked the beginning of our salvation. If His birthday was 10 October we would STILL celebrate that day, so the fact that we celebrate it on 25 December is a moot point. The point is to remember and rejoice. It’s a reminder to give thanks and take stock of who we are as Christians – to assess how we can be more Christ-like and to strive to be better disciples. The most relevant point is to spread God’s word. What better opportunity to speak into the hearts of children than over Christmas? What better way to demonstrate God’s teaching of “love one another as I have loved you” than to show love and kindness to people?
The true meaning of Christmas can get lost behind tinsel and singing Santas and we may feel unsure of where to start…. so start here: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Best. Christmas. Present. Ever!
For a lot of Christians our journey does not start at Jesus’ birth but rather at His death. We come to God as broken individuals in a grey world. The very fact that Jesus was born, walked this earth, performed miracles, showed compassion, did not sin and died for us, is what makes us supremely blessed. His birth is what put the colour into our world, His death is what puts us, in full colour, into God’s Kingdom.
So, back to the first statement of, “I wish they would leave God out of it…” We, as sinners, leave God out of it far too much. We don’t include Him in every aspect of our lives as we should. We should be striving to include God in every single part of our lives and in every moment. For that reason I believe that if Christmas isn’t about Jesus enough then we must make it ALL about Jesus. Keep the lights, the trees, the carols, the over-eating, and of course, that one family member that will always be slightly inappropriate (but you love them anyway) and bring God’s gift into every part of it. Love each other. Be kind to each other. In the same way that we reminisce and get nostalgic when remembering our own child’s birth, we should sit and consider the enormity of the gift we were given when Christ was born. It was, after all, the day that changed our lives for eternity.
Think about what God felt the day Jesus was born, knowing what He knew was to follow. Think how He felt watching Jesus learn from the Rabbis, being baptised, walking on water and teaching His word to the multitudes. Think how God felt through all of this, knowing what Jesus would endure at His crucifixion. Think on these things and know that God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Christmas is an opportunity to give thanks, to repent and, if you haven’t already, to accept Jesus Christ as your saviour, your King of Kings, your true Redeemer.
Merry Christmas to each and every one of you.
“The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6 v 24-26