As I focus on this time of year and all the craziness that goes with it, I returned to a blog I posted three years ago about the meaning of Christmas. I revisit and update my thoughts on this wonderful time of year.
Christmas can be a season when many ponder the questions:
“What’s it all about?”
“Why do we do all this decorating and buying and cooking?”
“Why do we put with relatives and others we wouldn’t spend a minute with at any other time of year?”
In 2023, it looks like nothing’s changed. Some would say it’s become even worse.
Covid seems to be over—or is it? There seems to be a strong segment in the government and media who want to keep it around.
There is still violence on the streets. The very foundations of our nation and our freedoms are under attack. We’re looking toward an election next year that has all the makings of a repeat of 2020 (or worse).
Where is the moral integrity of our leaders—at every level and in every branch of government and in both parties? Where is the integrity in the media, in our universities and colleges, in the sciences? People are still accused of misinformation and the U.N. now has a plan to encourage censorship of anyone who doesn’t agree with the accepted narrative. And we see censorship rampant in our own country.
Terrorists attack Israel with the intent to wipe the people and the nation from the face of the earth. And Israel is the one asked to show restraint or stop fighting all together. Not a word about the horror of the attack, the killing of civilians, including children and infants, the rape of Jewish women. The rise of antisemitism, especially on our college campuses. And universities can’t even decide if the actions violate the school’s own code of conduct.
This is a time to really study the meaning of Christmas, to see the season from a new perspective. A time to listen to teachers like Pastor Robert Morris give new insights into what Christmas means and to study books such as Because of Bethlehemby Max Lucado.
I’ve we have jaded long by the commercialism of Christmas. Over the years, our own traditions have evolved from focusing on family more than spending, taking part in celebrations and events at our church. In all this, we’re striving to honor the reason for the season.
But all too often, I think we lose sight of Jesus in another way. We see him as the infant in the manger. Images of our own experience with babies filter and distort our view of Jesus. We remember the funny faces, the first smiles, the coos, the eyes wide in wonder and study.
We forget Jesus’ uniqueness. He’s the only person ever born who knew he was going to die a horrible death and when it would happen. And he did it anyway because he knew why he did it. For me and for you.
Jesus, our God, became human so he could die for me personally. And for you as well. For every person on this Earth.
Easter begins at Christmas. A straight line connects the two. Jesus came at Christmas so Easter could happen, so we could all be saved.
Jesus, our God, came so you and I could be redeemed and enjoy eternal life with him. And he came so we could have a personal relationship with him every day. He really wants us to be in his presence every day.
Christmas isn’t about gifts. It’s about celebrating the Gift no one else can give—the gift of Jesus. We remember he loves us. We walk in faith that he walks with us through this crazy year. Christmas is about anticipating the joy that awaits us in eternity.
This is also a time to lead with our faith, to be bold in who we are as Christ-followers, to look to build bridges with those we would rather avoid. Please allow me to share a resource with you about leading with our faith this Christmas. It is from Pastor Allen Jackson of World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, TN: Leading with Our Faith.
I wish you all a joyous Christmas and a freshening in your hearts of why Jesus came.