The reason for the season?

December 21, 2009 at 3:50 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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This time of year, you see it all over the place – “Jesus is the reason for the season”. I guess it’s an effort to try and get people to focus on the real meaning of Christmas, but as I was thinking about all of this, I had some questions about it. Is Jesus really the reason for the season in the hearts and minds of most people? Is this just a weak attempt to try and evangelize without having to really do anything? If people know Jesus as He’s portrayed in the Bible, should this be necessary?
I understand the statement and I totally agree with it. Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season. Of course, He’s the reason for every other season as well… The problem comes when I see the same people that tell me that Jesus is the reason for the season slide tackling an 80 year old woman and hurdling two shopping carts full of crying newborns (who were dragged out into the freezing cold weather at 4 a.m.) just so that they can join in a death match for the last Patty Wets-her-pants. Ok, so it may be more than a little problem…I guess I have gotten to where I don’t understand some of the things that people do in the name of celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus. We trek out to the malls to find that perfect gift for that special someone at the best price. All the while, we gripe about the traffic and the waiting in line. Meanwhile, we try as hard as we can to latch on to the Christmas carol playing over the mall speakers so that we can drown out the horrible groans our conscience is making as it keeps a running total of how much we’re spending. The only solace is that we’re using our credit cards so fast there is a slight chance that they will actually melt before we spend ourselves out of house and home and into oblivion. When the amount actually does register, it reminds us to pick up that super-sized bottle of Tums so that we stay healthy enough to come up with a plan for paying off all the debt we’re building up.
Before I go on, don’t get me wrong. I love to give gifts. It’s gotten to the point that I don’t even wait until Christmas to give them anymore. And I don’t wrap them either. Some might see that as lazy, but it’s not. I love getting something that I know my loved ones will use and enjoy so much that I want them to have it now. What confuses me is the fact that I seem to have missed the point where Christmas became all about lining the pockets of the stores and shops (many of whom couldn’t tell you what Christmas is really about, even though it’s spelled out for them…) and we forgot that it should be a time when we slow down, relax, and try to strip off all of the hardness, bitterness, and sin that has built up over the past year, so that we can truly celebrate the day that we recognize that an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God poured Himself into the weak, frail human flesh of a newborn babe so that one day He would be able to die for sinners like us.
Has God’s precious gift of salvation through the death of His Son come to mean so little to us? Is His priceless majesty now outshined by the latest technological gadget or doodad? Are we so focused on the gold, frankencence, and myrrh that we forget the Son Himself? Have we become so insulated to the amazing grace and love that brought Christ here that we have reduced it to wishing others “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings” and moving on without any real concern for their well-being? Sadly, it seems as if the birth of Christ has become about as eventful for men today as it was when it first happened. When Jesus Christ was born into the world, it wasn’t with a fanfare of trumpets in the center of the city. He wasn’t paraded around in the finest silks money could buy and lavished with gifts by thousands and thousands of His loyal subjects. No, Jesus was born in a cave in Bethlehem. The only people present at His actual birth were His parents. Not long after, a few shepherds outside the city were greeted by angels and told of the birth of the King of Kings. I wonder if they tried to go into the city first and no one would listen? Those shepherds went and paid homage to the Lord while the majority of the city slept or frolicked or drank themselves into a stupor and they got to be some of the first to lay eyes on the Word made flesh.
Please understand that this applies to me just as much as it does to you. I’ve gotten complacent and lax on giving the Lord the honor and worship He deserves. I’ve gotten caught up in the buying and griping without seeing its effects until later. It is my hope and prayer that I will be outside the city when the day comes. I would rather be away from the noise and distractions of the city with a few fellow shepherds than in the commotion and sin of the city with thousands of others. It breaks my heart when I think about the seconds, moments, and days wasted wehn I could have been praising Him. It humbles me when I think about the fact that God allows a sinful wretch like me to even speak His perfect Word. I don’t want to be outside the city because I hate the people in it. I love them, just like Jesus does, and I want to see them saved. But, the commotion, sin, and noise are easily distracting for me and I don’t want to be distracted now. I want to spend time with those that I love, sharing in the true joy of Christmas. All of us praising God and worshipping Him for who He is.
My hope is that this Christmas, you’ll get outside the city and stop to think about where you are and what you’re doing. Are you glorifying God? Would you be able to recognize Him if He came back today? Have you allowed yourself to get distracted with the “hustle and bustle” and lost focus on the anchor of your salvation? Do you even have salvation? Are you saved? If you are not, then this is the perfect time for you to understand that the baby Jesus that many of us think about this time of year is the same Jesus who grew to be the man who was pierced for our transgressions. He was utterly ruined on our behalf. All of our sins (lying, stealing, lusting, hatred, anger, blasphemy) were placed on Him and then God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus for that sin. The Bible says that if you will repent of your sins (turn from them) and put your faith in Jesus alone to save you, it will happen. You will have your conscience cleansed and will no longer love the things that you used to love. If you are saved, please take some time to slow down and consider your relationship with the Son of God. If you’ve gotten lax, repent and remove the things that have distracted you or weighed you down. Take time to celebrate the Christ with those you love and let them know how much they mean to you.
I pray that God will richly bless you this Christmas and that your life will glorify Him in every way…

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