My confession exhortation from this past Sunday:
I think it’s fair to say, as far as our culture is concerned that we are now into the “Christmas season” in full force. Sadly this does not mean our nation’s attention is reverently and joyfully focused on the birth of the Christ, the King of the world. Stores are packed with consumers, and online shopping is ripe with sweet deals and free shipping. All around us we see lights and icicles; Santa and scented candles; reindeer and wise men; candy canes and silver bells; snow men and nativities; Bing Crosby and Shrek Christmas; blockbuster movie openings and constant jingle bell commercials; carols and endless cookies, Handel’s Messiah and It’s a Wonderful Life: as Johnny Matthis reminds us annually – “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”
Now I am not here to pull a Grinch or Scrooge on you (or to use biblical terms – a “Pharisee” on you) because this season IS the birthday month of King Jesus. Festiveness is in order and I don’t mean the kind that constantly grumbles about silly decorations, materialism, traditions, gluttony and family get-togethers. God wired us to party and to party with a vengeance. Decorations, traditions, get-togethers, gifts, special songs, trees, lights, feasts, partying and much, much more can and probably should fit into a proper Christmas celebration--yet the question of WHY must always be at the forefront of our minds. When we’re asked “What’s this all about?” Do we clear our voices and sheepishly say—“mmmmm. Oh yah, Jesus, I guess” as though we had a brain freeze? Or does our celebrating find its beginning, middle and end with the radical and world-changing reality of Christ becoming man for our salvation and the worlds’?
We should sing till our voices are raw, because our hearts demand the release of joy in God! We should give in loving, wise and sacrificial ways to show off the one who gave His all for us! We should feast with full vigor while reminding our kids and others that all this is blood-bought by the one who was born in a Manger! By all means, put Chevy Chase to shame in your decorations—but for a much different reason. Embrace Christmas traditions, honor your family in get-togethers, be patient and kind to those who miss the point—but by all means – DON’T MISS THE POINT. I mean JESUS. We are His disciples, and as His disciples, we have more reason than anyone to enjoy the month that remembers His birth.