Maybe Scrooge had it right…maybe Christmas deserves a humbug. You may not be a negative Nelly all the time, but should see there are some good things and bad things that go along with the celebration of Christmas, and it helps put things into perspective. You don’t have to look far to see how pop culture has tried to take Christ out of X-Mas, with silly songs and shows about reindeer, Santa, and cold weather. The focus on getting what you want and decorating your house to fit in are pretty pervasive as well. I have a good Christian friend who basically doesn’t want much of anything to do with the celebration of Christmas because of the paganism, consumerism, and other negative aspects that go along with it that detract from the worship of Christ. In discussions with him, I often argue as the ‘Santa’s advocate’ to highlight the positive aspects of this celebration. What side do you take? Sing of Christmas, or Down with Christmas, or somewhere in between?
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:10-11
As you were growing up, did your family have traditions associated with Christmas that you looked forward to each year? My mother would make fudge and several different cookies that she normally only made before Christmas, that my family ate up quickly. Listening to Christmas albums while my mom baked still is a fond memory I have of her. We often got to help decorate a tree, open one present after Christmas eve service, and the rest on Christmas morning. Going to have lunch at my grandparent’s home and visiting with relatives always left us full of good food and memories. These are things that surround the celebration of Christmas and are not bad in and of themselves. But when they become the focus of what we are doing, when we start demanding others do things the way we want to do them, when we become more caught up in getting the right gift for someone and getting what we want, then our hearts may not be in the right place. What about those people that demand superficial things like saying ‘Merry Christmas’ and have nothing but contempt for those that wish them “Happy Holidays”? It is fairly easy for things other than Christ to take center stage in our lives if they go unchecked, and often without us even realizing it, especially when we ignore the Spirits prompting in our lives. Are there things you do to re-center on Christ and put away the things that really don’t matter when celebrating him at Christmas or any other time of year?
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 2 Timothy 3:1-5
So, maybe like Scrooge, we can have a change of heart as well. Maybe we can do away with the selfish demands that we place on others every year (or all the time) and find more ways to act in love toward strangers and even our family members. Are there little things you can think of that will reset your heart to be in a good place in how you relate to others and to God? Each year, my wife and I discuss what ‘traditions’ we want to do with our children that will promote Christ and selflessness, because selfishness is the natural tendency in us all. We have to pair this along with the traditions of our extended family as well and find a balance with everyone. This year, we may not even be participating with everyone as we have in the past because of some restrictions, but finding new ways to celebrate Christ at Christmas may not be a bad thing either. Sometimes we need to be taken out of our comfort zone to be reminded of what truly matters in this world.
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:13-14
Yours in Christ,