As I entered adulthood, I always thought that when I got older, got married, and started a family, that every Christmas would look like national lampoon’s. I envisioned myself up on the roof, stringing 7,328 strands of twinkling lights together and checking each bulb, only to staple my sleeve to the roof, pull free, and subsequently have a near death experience. Ahh the meaning of Christmas.
I also pictured every extended family member, immediate relatives, and In-Laws, filling up our house, bedrooms, and 18 person dining table the weekend of Christmas, and myself carving the turkey whilst sporting a Santa hat. And of course, that one weird cousin that wasn’t invited, but shows up anyway, with his dog, family, and obnoxious anecdotes, while my wife says, “we have plenty of room dear!”
As I’ve matured in my faith and we as a family experience our 2nd Christmas with our Son, Landen, it becomes more and more clear that Christmas is far more than coffee, Christmas cookies, Christmas trees, lights, gifts, family and friends. Our time of celebration of course does include all of those things, but even without all of those extras, Christmas will still arrive every year.
“How could it be so? It came without ribbons!… it came without tags!… it came without packages, boxes, or bags!” –The Grinch
It’s a shame that so many miss Christmas every year though. Folks may have the Griswold family Christmas, surrounded by 20-30 family members, and may even include a wild squirrel hunt inside the house, thanks to the tree they chopped down out in the middle of nowhere. But if Christ is left out of the equation, they miss Christmas altogether. Having everything “holiday” EXCEPT Christ in your home this week, is a tragedy.
You cannot truly celebrate Christmas and yet completely bypass the spiritual significance of Christ’s birth.
We find such a group that tried to bypass Christmas in Matthew…
Matt. 2:4-6– When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 ” ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’ ”
This is absolutely dumbfounding. The theologians, the pharisaical aristocracy, knew exactly where Christ was to be born. These guys knew Scripture well enough to quote Micah 5:2, prophesying the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Yet, these extremely intelligent and religious elite men of Israel, missed Christmas. They had all the facts, but they just didn’t care. Their Messiah was not really important to them. If the truth were known, one might deduce they truly felt they didn’t need Him. They were self‑righteous. Keeping the law since birth. They believed they were already all that God could ever ask of them…why mess that up with change? They were perfect in their own minds and sickeningly proud.
These men were too involved with themselves to be concerned about Jesus Christ; the Savior. Swallowed by their own pride, self‑righteousness, and self‑sufficiency, they carried on in their rituals and their petty theological discussions within the comfort of their own religious system. They had no time for the Son of God who had come to rescue them. This is the problem though; the same problem we as believers face today:
If someone is trapped in a burning vehicle, stuck in a state of shock (or blind to the gospel), and we poke our heads over the side of the wreckage and tell them they need saving, they’ll ask “from what?” Only God can unveil the gospel and remove the scabs from people’s eyes, but it’s our responsibility to TELL them, HEY! YOU’RE TRAPPED INSIDE A WRECK! The Gospel is effective 100% of the time, either in hardening or in removing callouses. Just tell them.
Don’t let your Christmas story this year only be, “Twas the night before Christmas.” Get outside of the gift boxes, green and red wrapping, ribbons and bows. Include Christ in your CHRISTmas this December 25th. As friends and family gather in your home, don’t neglect to pray with everyone and thank God for all you have. Who knows, someone just might reach an arm up out of the wreckage and ask how they can get out.
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