I have to admit that by the time the 25th of December finally arrives I am at my breaking point with the whole “Christmas thing.” For nearly two months we have been suffocated with the “stuff” of society: lights, stockings, gifts, red-nosed flying reindeer, a chubby fella in a red suit, little people with big ears, green jump suits and red shoes, Groupon mass emails, not to mention Christmas in July…enough already.
When I look around, see all the commotion and hear all the stress I wonder sometimes, “do they know it's Christmas time at all?” But then the foundation of this question rests on the premise that the true meaning of Christmas is even understood.
How easy is it to allow the issues of the day the opportunity to suffocate our hearts and our mind’s eye? Rather than the God of grace, hope, mercy and love being our refuge and our trust, the ways of the world occupy our hearts. When the gods of self, pride and power become our refuge and our strength we become deaf, dumb and blind to the things that really matter.
What is needed is for us to “abide in the shadow of the almighty” (Psalm 91:1) as opposed to the blanket of despair from the world. The world is in need of the beauty of Christ rather the propaganda of consumerism.
Christmas is the time meant as a celebration of God’s ambush of joy. A time we invite the world into this drama of salvation. Yet instead of inviting the world into the greatest mind-bending, earth shattering, performance of love, much of the Church today seems satisfied with dressing Jesus up in a Santa suit and parading Him around in a one horse open sleigh.
This Christmas I don't want to celebrate a baby who is swaddled in the blanket of selfishness. This Christmas I don't want a false spirituality that is keen on synchronizing with society. This Christmas I want Jesus – Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23).
What do you want for Christmas?
I want the God of Christmas and the God of Easter.
The One who sacrificed Himself for me. The One who gave everything for me. The One who is infinitely compassionate. The One who enters into my brokenness, into my suffering and overwhelms it with a love insane.
I want the One true God who is intimately knowable and at the same time an awesome, incomprehensible, and unwieldy mystery. I want Jesus.
Whether they know it or not, the world wants Jesus as well. Unfortunately, this Christmas (and the days beyond) many people give themselves to the world and are left deaf: to the cries of the baby in the manger; to the cry of salvation for those whose dwelling place is the Lord (v9); to the cry of deliverance for those who love the Lord (v14); to the cry of refuge for those who seek His presence (v9). Oh how deaf have our hearts and ears become such that the hopelessness of life drowns out the truth of Christmas.
Where is our hope?
Christmas is God’s resounding proclamation to His creation that hope is personal. He is our hope. Hope is not in gifts, not in family, not in food, not in this world. Hope is in God Himself. Hope is in this God who cloaked Himself with flesh and invited creation into an eternal love relationship. What do you want for Christmas?