My goal in this blog is not to run people down, to preach at them, or to make them do something just because I said they should. My goal is to share things I’ve learned, to encourage and build up other believers, and be an arrow pointing to Christ. But in the process, I want to bring light to the lies we’ve deceived ourselves with, big or small. I want to discover truth.
So I want to bring out the (obvious) lie we tell ourselves when it comes to Christmas. We tell ourselves that Christmas is the time of year we’re supposed to set aside to remember that Jesus came to earth as a baby and was born in a stable. We do the Christmas plays, sing the Christmas hymns, read the Christmas story. But what have we actually taken to heart?
Christmas has turned into a selfish tradition where we make it into a materialistic party, satisfying our greed. People make their “Christmas lists”. They attend parties. Then they stress out because they have all these gifts to buy and it’s two days until Christmas. And we haven’t even realized what we’ve done. Now, I have done all of these things, and none of them are wrong in themselves. But we’ve put our greed, self, and wants where Christ should have been all along. “Christmas” means “More Christ”. What we’ve turned it into is “Stuffmas”. We focus more on getting and even giving than what God gave to us.
What did God give us? He gave us the key to His kingdom. He gave us light, life, and unending joy. He gave us power over darkness through His only Son, whom He freely gave for us wretched sinners to be crucified and slain. And we’ve corrupted the day that this life was brought to us.
We’ve treated this miraculous, undeserved gift with disregard. We’ve neglected this special love and ignored it to pick up the stress and the chaos and self-focus. Shouldn’t we be ashamed? Shouldn’t we be embarrassed that we – yes, we Christians – have neglected our Savior? What sort of testimony do we live, that we would take the birth of Christ and use it to gain more stuff?
One of my favorite, overlooked Christmas passages is in John 1. “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1: 9-11, 14)
He came into the world for us; not because we deserve it, but because He was full of grace. And we did not receive Him. Do we even receive Him today?
Think about that for a minute – His grace. We are so undeserving of this life, and yet He sent His only son to die a cruel, merciless death on a cross, like a common, ordinary thief, to pay the price for what you and I have done to separate ourselves from God. His coming for us truly is an act of grace.
Yes, Christmas is remembering the birth of Christ. We believe that this is what Christmas is about. But do we act on that belief? Do we honestly remember Him more than what we still have left to buy? I can’t even admit to doing that. I still work on making Jesus my first love, on putting Him first in everything. But I believe this is a test of our love, our faithfulness. We need to stop lying to ourselves. Who do we love more: ourselves, or Christ?