Last weekend I had a moment. An absolute fit about the holidays. The same fit we all have this time of year about the mixing of secular and sacred. The battle against the commercialism has put me in a humbug sort of mood. You see, in my futile attempt to have more nativity sets than Santas in our home, I think I am part of this whole problem.
For me, It began with a simple statement about Jesus’ birth.
“Everything is different, but nothing has changed.”
Think about that for a minute. In all of the advances of the current age, the human condition has not improved. We are still as lost as those searching for their own idea of a king.
We know what we think we are looking for, and just like that story, we are met with less hoopla and grandeur that anticipated.
We argue of Christmas, Santa, and the like … but how are we still missing it?
I got to thinking about our own celebrating and I started questioning even myself. Was Christmas ever really supposed to be just about Jesus birth?
How did it become a cosmic birthday party? Wasn’t the focus supposed to be about an indescribable gift?
Is that the reason for all of the frustration of the season? Could it be that in our celebration of the story, we missed the present?
Here’s a question for you: Is a gift still a gift if you don’t take it?
Imagine what would happen if someone bought you a present, and set it on the shelf with instructions to open it … “If you want it.”
You know it is there, but it is still not yours because you didn’t take it.
I don’t know about you, and maybe I am weird, but I don’t normally attend birthday parties for people I don’t know. Isn’t that what we are expecting others to do?
We have shifted our focus from a Jolly Ole St. Nick to the stable in hopes that we capture the wonder again. But, I am beginning to realize something about Christmas. In the middle of celebrating HIS birth–we are still missing HIM.
We draw close to the scene. We gaze into the barn, listen for angels to sing. We watch as Mary gives birth to Jesus. We sing songs about a silent night, but then we look away. I think that the meaning of Christmas is lost because the focus is on the manger. We celebrate the past, but we do not acknowledge its place in the present. We make Christmas about an event that happened, instead of something that is happening.
Do we even invite Jesus to His own party? We talk about who HE was and what HE did, instead of who HE is and what HE is doing.
The gift of Christmas is not in the birth, but what HIS birth allows:
Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Emmanuel.”
Not Jesus born among us …
Not a Savior who died and rose for us … But God with US.
We are not just missing baby Jesus this holiday season.
We are not missing the meaning of Christmas … We are missing Christ.
What is wrong with the whole world today?
The same thing that is wrong with Christmas … We left Jesus in the stable.
How do you feel about your celebration of Christmas this year? Are you struggling to make it “different”? How can you focus on Emmanuel–God with us?