Something on my mind lately.
It’s not a new concept; hardly even novel to me. Just, I’m now realizing the significance of focusing on this.
I think one of the hardest things to do is be honest with your own self. We often overlook our mistakes, covering them with excuses. But, if we’re going to be completely honest with ourselves as a culture — what is our biggest focus on during the Christmas season? What are we most intentional about? What do we look forward to this most? What do we worry about the most?
For most people, including myself, I believe the answer is not God. I’ve often heard “put the Christ back in Christmas” — but to what purpose is this said? To encourage good spirit? To be merry? To make a good use of our vacation time with our family during the season? These aren’t illegitimate reasons. These are in fact, good-natured. But, to what extent do we focus on God? …reading the Christmas story, making a Jesus birthday cake, going to an extra Christmas service. I don’t mean to negate or compromise the value of any of these. But in my opinion, myself and the vast majority of American culture, especially including the church, focus more on relationships and the “season,” — and everything that comes with it: from decorated stores, to shopping, to hot apple cider, Christmas trees, outside decorations, cookies, milk, Christmas scents, presents, red and green everywhere, electrically lit snowflakes hanging from every which roof, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and so much more. Even most Christmas movies seem to get the message of Christmas wrong: The Grinch, The Christmas Story, any Santa Claus movie — only the Charlie Brown Christmas gets it right in referencing Luke 2. Again, I don’t write this intending to be condescending.
I say all this to make a point. Focus the next 37 days on the real meaning of Christmas. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, our King, our Father in Heaven, Creator of all the universe and everything in it… it’s His birthday. In my family we used to do “birthday weeks” when we were kids. Our whole birthday week we got special attention. I think our God deserves at least the same sort of attention. Let’s put the focus back on Him. I’m going to remember for the next few weeks the utter significance of God entering the earth in human form, for the sole purpose of dying so that our sins may be forgiven. It’s going to take a considerable amount of effort to refocus this attention. I personally am going to fast something that takes up a considerable amount of my time on a weekly basis. If any of you feel such a desire as well, give me a message and I’ll help keep you accountable if you do the same for me. And that’s not for everyone — for the rest of you, try to carry around an acknowledgment of the reason why we have Christmas during this Christmas season. When you’re out shopping, decorating, baking, or whatever other Christmas festivities you’re participating in — just remind yourself of what it’s all about. Let’s show God some respect and gratitude for offering his Son to the earth. Not just for one day or one week — for the entire Christmas season that we celebrate.