It’s becoming clearer and clearer to me each year how the true meaning of Christmas has become a washed-down, commercialized copycat version of itself. I don’t think even a small portion of the activities we involve ourselves in during this time helps the fact at all even if our intentions are the best. Shopping your way into the season is probably the most shallow activity but even some of the more significant endeavors aren’t really bringing the absolute truth of Christmas into plain view. Making sure that all the needy people on your list will get a Christmas present or a badly needed meal is important and commendable but it doesn’t convey the fact that we are supposed to be celebrating the birth of the Messiah, who is called Jesus today.
Christmas has morphed into a humanist holiday which appears to be right, good and humanitarian in its quest for meaning and significance. However, when we look at the life of Jesus- who is the reason why we are celebrating at all- we’ll see some dichotomies which would shock people if they realized what the Bible is actually telling us of the facts of his life. In songs they call him the Prince of Peace and yet he himself said, “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth ? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.” (Luke 12:51) Later, in the same profession he urged those listening to try to make peace with their adversaries. His contention was that our convictions will divide even families but our aim should be to remain friendly with everyone and as peaceably as possible.
The most important aspect of this holy day is that God sent a miracle in the form of his only begotten son to ultimately make the sacrifice of his life, willingly, so that each and every person could receive salvation from our wretched state of sin and rebellion against God. It’s more imperative than ever to stick to the original message because so many people, even those whom we deem to be religious, don’t really know what sin against God is anymore. Instead of laying sins at the foot of the cross, they have placed all their excuses instead. They cannot say the simple words “I’m sorry!” to anyone, leave alone a God they cannot see with their eyes. Satan is just another part of themselves, they believe, because they grapple with the ten commandments everyday.
Jesus made it possible for salvation to be simple to the human heart weary of all its errors and sadness. Tired of the excuses, blame-laying and guilt trips, those who simply believe that what Jesus did on the cross for us can change all that and bring love back into our hearts enough to want to emulate their savior are free. Salvation is easy but the rest of the process is a lifelong work and it’s less difficult when you are not walking alone. Jesus becomes your closest friend and he’s the best friend you’ll ever have- believe it.
The rest of what I’m going to say will be very difficult reading for those who have no such convictions in their life. Many people will just live their lives never really thinking any deeper than the reality of existence in its present form. Even Sting sang, “There is a deeper world than this…” and Jesus spoke in parables for that very reason. If you look up John 6 and read the whole chapter Jesus words and works will astound you but his words will also baffle you if you simply can’t believe your eyes. Thus:
“It is the Spirit who gives life: the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” Jesus spoke of himself as the Bread of Life to people who had no understanding because they didn’t believe. They had no faith that what he was saying had truth in it. To the people who believed, what he said cleared up a mystery to them and it was miraculous. Therefore, celebrating Christmas in its most basic form would be along the lines of remembering the words Linus says (basically) every year during the holidays on T.V.
Luke 2:8-14 …Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And behold an angel of the Lord stood before them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign to you. You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men !”
with big boxes, bows, ribbons and kisses for all !