Here we are. It is Christmas time again. The craziness and busyness has been upon for several weeks now, and probably won’t subside until days after Christmas. Then, we all collapse and head back to work to get some relaxation. Sometimes, I wonder how it ever got to be this way. I am sure that it started out simply and sincerely. This is not to say that this time cannot still be filled with simplicity and sincerity. But the insanity and commercialization (to echo Charlie Brown) seems too often to leave the true message of Christmas in the dust.
We spend a ton of money, if we have it (and even if we don’t). We worry if our gifts to others will be liked and appreciated. We gather with friends and family. We worry about impressing people we don’t even like. If you happen to have the pleasure of working in a corporate setting with annual giving campaigns, you may get to hear the annual plea or arm-twisting, whichever you prefer, to give to causes that you may or may not agree with. We run from event to event, hardly stopping to breathe or reflect on the reason this season is celebrated.
In the end, however, this season is all about selflessness. It is about sacrificing on the behalf of others. It is the celebration of the greatest self-sacrifice that human history will ever know. And this sacrifice was made so that we might know God, and call on Him as Father, and be welcomed into His family and kingdom. This all happened so that we could place our faith and hope in God.
“…knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” 1 Peter 1:18-21
Though being in very nature God, Jesus took on the very nature of a servant and was born in the likeness of man (Philippians 2:6-8). He humbled Himself and became obedient, even to the point of death, by coming as a baby and living out His life, so that He could die – all for us.
Christmas is not about getting what we want. Christmas is about getting what we need. And we need Jesus. We need Jesus whether we are lost and far from Him or whether we have been walking with Him for years. He is our greatest need – each moment and every day. And God offers this hope freely through salvation in Jesus Christ, if we will just reach out and receive it.
My prayer is that, this Christmas, we will all know the hope and joy that are offered through Jesus. For those of us who already know Christ, I pray that we will be reminded again of the magnitude of the gift that brought us our freedom. For those of you who don’t yet know Christ, I pray that the knowledge of the love of Christ would find a home in your hearts this season.
For all of us, I pray that our lives would come to reflect the self-sacrificing life given so freely for us, reflecting the true meaning of Christmas. That rather than striving for position, accumulating more things we don’t need, and always trying to have things our own way, we would demonstrate the humility and selflessness of Jesus Christ, God’s greatest gift, and the only true hope and joy for this world.
Together for His glory…