Again this year, I have decided to post basically the same thoughts in our annual Christmas blog that we have shared in the past. I trust this year’s Christmas post will again be a good reminder to everyone of the true Christian meaning and spirit of Christmas. Until Susan and I married on January 12th, 2011, her family (gift wise) consisted of nine people plus a handful of friends. Reasonable. But after my family stepped into the portrait, Sue and I had 18 additional family members to shop for plus another handful of my friends. Sue’s head was spinning, not knowing what would be the “perfect” gift for each family, not to mention each of my grandchildren, most of whom Sue had yet to meet.
“What are we going to do?” she asked that first year.
“Not a problem,” says I. (Praise the Lord for gift cards to Bass Pro Shop, Kohl’s, Michael’s, Toys-R-Us and so on.)
My grandchildren have grown out of it now but there was a time, back when they were much younger, when each of them received more useless presents than they could open in an hour. On Christmas morning they would grab a package from their New-Gift pile, tear ribbon and wrapping to shreds, give the newest gift a quick once over, then toss it on their Been-There, Done-That pile. Susan and I agree, that’s a sad commentary on today’s culture.
But there is something else we’ve found that we agree on even more strongly. We feel as though Jesus Christ is being quietly locked out of His own birthday party. I mean, did you ever show up at your birthday party and everyone else got all the gifts? And to add to that insult, you were not even allowed into your own party. Instead, there was some fat old man with white whiskers in a red suit there in your place. Well, that’s what happens every year at Christmas in most homes across America. After all, the birth of Christ is what the season is supposed to be all about and He is barely remembered—even shut out.
Jesus Christ was God the Father’s gift to the human race. Jesus came to earth to be born of humble birth, lived 33 plus years, then was crucified and died on a cross as our substitute to pay the debt we owe God the Father for our sins. Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb, then raised to life again after three days and nights. But in this day and age it seems we celebrate Santa Claus more than The Lord of the Universe! (And of course everyone but little children know there is no Santa Claus!)
What do most of us do with Christ on Christmas morning? Much like my grand-kids did when they were small tykes, we grab Jesus from the pile, barely give him a glance, then discard Him on the Not-Interested-in-That-Gift pile while we look around eagerly for what’s next that might dazzle us or give us temporary pleasure in life.
Now I’m not suggesting that all families are this callous to Jesus Christ during the Christmas season. Nor am I saying that most think of The Lord Jesus as a fantasy Santa Claus character. But I do believe that a majority of we fundamental born-again Christians here in the good-old USA, and even in other cultures around the world, have become mesmerized by and absorbed into the world’s version of Christmas. The Santa Claus version!
So what have Sue and I done about it? Two years ago the Holy Spirit gave us a fresh idea. He opened our minds to the thought of taking all the combined dollars we would have spent on Christmas gifts for family and friends … and giving those dollars instead to a Christian ministry we believe in, trust and support. In this way we feel we are giving a birthday gift to The Lord Jesus, on what we celebrate as His birthday! Oh, we still give birthday gifts throughout the year to family and friends, and gifts at other times of year for no particular reason other than the fact that we love that person.
At Christmas, however, we have chosen to bring Our Lord Jesus Christ back into His own birthday party and we are telling the imaginary Jolly Old Elf named Santa, who has taken Christs place for far too long, to take a sleigh ride—to a galaxy far, far away! Remember, Santa is not Jesus.
We are not bringing Christ back as a babe in a manger but as the Savior of the world, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the almighty Son of the everlasting God and Father of the universe!
So, are we suggesting that you follow our lead at Christmas? No. That would be between you and the Lord.
But we do suggest that we all put Christ back in Christmas, where He belongs. Let’s make a conscious effort to bring the gift of Christ’s love to others. Just ask Him to impress upon you what He might have you do this Christmas season to make Him real and alive to someone who does not know Him as Lord and Savior. Remember, God the Father has already given a gift to the world more amazing and wonderful than any other—a true gift of love, the gift of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
My blogs usually end with a cute story or a few paragraphs from one of my novels but this time I have chosen several beautiful passages from the Bible. May they touch your heart in a profound and saving way:
… the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23b. NIV.)
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16. NIV.)
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6. ESV.)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6. NIV.)
Have a wonderful Christmas season and a new year filled with the goodness of God.
Jesus loves you one and all,
Carl and Sue