“Christmas is simple…and complex!”
That’s what my pastor said this morning in church and I quickly jotted it down.
The baby in the manger. Simple.
That’s God in the manger. We get that. (well that’s complex to grasp but not the point of the post – so we move on! lol!)
But baking cookies, decorating, shopping, wrapping, attending parties, concerts and family get togethers –makes it all seem SO complex.
So I googled “How to have a Perfect Christmas” and I found this list on-line:
- Enjoy the build up
- Have a Christmas movie night
- Read a Christmas book like “The Christmas Carol”
- Shop on-line
- Write a letter to Santa
- Make a gingerbread house
- Create a Christmas tradition like buy a new decoration or make a new treat
- Get the best wrapped present award
- Go ice skating, visit the most decorated houses in the area or go to a craft fair
There’s no birthday cake for Jesus on that list, but that should not come as a surprise as this is our chance to take Jesus to opposite world! We are the light of the world!
Have you ever imagined what it would be like if you took the Christ child out of Christ-mas. Since I grew up in a Christian home – celebrating Jesus as “the reason for the season” is all I know. But for some of you – you came to Christ later in life and you know what it’s like to do Christmas minus Christ.
The world has mangled the meaning of Christ-mas. They have cluttered it with a gazillion meaningless things to the point that we as Christians can hardly find the Christ child in the midst of our own mounds of toys and cookie trays!
And we are tempted to be self-indulgent. We want to have what opposite world has. But do we realize that all those magazines and pinterest pins void of Christ, add up to nothing. Their promise is fleeting. There’s a momentary happiness that will dissappar at the strike of midnight on Christmas day and come December 26th –we will wake with a hollow feeling of guilt.
We must step out of this horrific dreamland marketers have tried to sell us, void of Jesus and be still with Jesus.
But here’s where we start to wade into opposite world’s waters…all the days of planning, purchasing, decorating, baking and wrapping can fill us with expectations this world can never fulfill.
One lost parking spot, one fight with your husband or one rude comment from a family member…and Christmas begins to unravel and become less than dreamy. This less than dreamy reality serves as a reminder that all opposite world offers –is empty.
Movie nights, ginger bread houses and letters to Santa Claus cannot compare to the the joy that comes from knowing and walking with the King of Kings!
As Christ followers, we must not chase the next rainbow, the next high, the next good thing, rather than chasing our Savior – God – born in the manger.
Our Christmas must look different.
We must not miss Christ.
“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”~Luke 2:6,7
Stop right there. Where were the women in this story? Where was the innkeeper’s wife? The innkeeper could clearly see she was expecting! Why didn’t he call the mid-wives? Where’s her mother-in-law? The town was so full of people there were no rooms in the inn – yet this poor young girl gives birth with no one but Joseph at her side? Where was the baby shower and new clothes? She didn’t have baby clothes, so she wrapped him in cloths?
No one was mean to them…they just weren’t there! Were the women too busy taking care of their own families? Surely, taking care of our own families is a good and noble thing – but God was being born! And they missed it!
How can we not miss Christ this Christmas?
Matthew 25:34-40 tells us:
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
There it is. Giving, inviting, clothing, looking after and visiting…strangers, prisoners, the needy, the hurting around us. Whatever we have done for someone we see in need –we have done for Christ.
This is what sets us apart from the “perfect Christmas” that opposite world offers. The focus is not on us – the focus is on Christ.
Chime In – This Friday, I will share practical ways to keep Christ in Christmas. But until then, *chime in* in the comment section and share – what are some ways your family keeps Christ in Christmas. I’d like to include some of your thoughts in Friday’s post!
Walk with the King,