Monday, December 14, 2009

Jesus is the reason for the season...or is He?

"Jesus is the reason for the season". At least, that's what we say. But - like my mama always taught me - actions speak louder than words. Lately, I've been looking around - at others & at myself - & wondering how true this sentiment really is. Is Jesus really "the reason for the season"?

I've always loved Christmas, always been a bit of a fanatic, in fact. There was a time when I started playing Christmas music in July. (Seriously, you can ask my mama.) When I was growing up, I decorated my room, complete with my own little Christmas tree. Santas & snowmen, colored lights & snowglobes...the whole deal. I've always loved the idyllic Christmas. You know, the one with old-fashioned dresses, sleigh rides, church bells, snow. Of course, growing up in Louisiana, I never got that. Except the year we went to Wisconsin for Christmas, but I digress.

Do you see what's missing here? I (& I would suspect, a lot of other people, possibly even you) have thrown out the little rhyme above, along with a sprinkling of "Happy birthday, Jesus" throughout the years, but the main event involved the tree & the food & the company & the presents & looking at lights & get the idea. Oh, I would have never said that, but my actions did. We all, Christians & unbelievers alike, scurry around all in a flutter about what we're going to buy for our spouse & children, extended family, & friends. Where's dinner going to be? Are we going to have turkey or ham, dressing or stuffing? After Christmas, the customary query is "What did you get?" I could go on, but surely you see where I'm going. If Jesus is really "the reason for the season", then why don't we focus more on Him? Why is it that we can go even to Christian homes & see Santa & Frosty displayed prominently en masse & one little nativity scene set on the mantle or coffee table? And I'm not just pointing fingers here; I've been guilty of the very same thing for years! It seems to me that this sends a mixed message. Especially to children & unbelievers. If Christmas is about Jesus, then why does Santa have such a prominent role? How does opening presents for ourselves celebrate Jesus' birth? I mean, be honest, as you take your children to see Santa, are you thinking about how much Christ is glorified in that? As you shop for & open presents, are you thinking, "This is for You, Jesus!"? Hardly.

Christmas is not about presents or any of the other things that we, along with the world, strive so hard to make it about. Christmas is about Jesus. He came down from heaven & became incarnate for our sake. Think about this! He, the Lord of glory, chose to be born to an unwed teenage mother in a stable filled with animals...for us! So that He could live the one & only perfect life & die the one & only sin-atoning death in our place to save us from the deserved wrath of God! How could we, who claim to love Him & be His disciples, possibly make Christmas about anything less than this? Does this mean we throw out all of our Santas & snowmen, don't decorate a tree or the house, & don't buy presents? I can't answer that for you, because it's a heart issue. I think the question we need to ask ourselves is, "How does this make me focus on & glorify Christ?" If it doesn't, it should go. And again, we should ask, "How does this show others that I value Christ supremely?" As much of a kick as I get out of my "Jingle Bell Rock" Santa, for the life of me, I can't figure how he helps me glorify Christ or how he shows others that I love Christ supremely.

I guess the main question I'm asking myself this year is, what are my actions saying about my heart? What are yours?


Jennifer said...

I am so with you on this!! I thought we were doing so good, because several years ago, even before having children, we got rid of all things related to Santa. I've kids have known since birth that Santa is pretend and the Lord Jesus Christ is real. We buy little and try to give much. But this year, the Lord showed me even more things related to Christmas that were a hinderance. I'll have to share more in another setting, but one thing that has struck me big time this year is this thought...we are told to worship in spirit and in truth. In Truth. There is so much about the way we celebrate Christmas that is not "in truth." That has led our family to even more changes. I've also learned a lot about the origins of some of many of our traditions that have led our family to rethink some things. Anyway, I applaud you for being so bold and for challenging us Christians to be different. We are called to be set apart. Thanks for the reminder!

The Boyds said...

Jennifer, I would love to hear your thinking on this & what changes y'all have made. It will really help us in our parental preparations!