I LOVE celebrating Christmas! That should show you just how shallow I really am. I know there are a lot of people out there who have abandoned Christmas trees and gifts and decorations, etc., etc., for any number of reasons. But not me. I grew up in the world’s most perfect Midwestern town – a town that really knew how to celebrate Christmas – Keokuk Iowa! That’s where I learned to love Christmas.
Back in the 50′s, Main Street at Christmastime was like a live Norman Rockwell painting. All the shops were bustling. Shopping, foggy-breathed neighbors cheerfully greeted one another as they tramped around in the swirling snowflakes. Everybody was overloaded with brown paper and string packages. The record store had Bing Crosby on the loudspeaker, and there was hot cider or chocolate available for the asking in nearly every shoppe. On Christmas Eve we attended a midnight church service wherein we all again learned that Jesus was the reason for the season.
We all need to remember that Jesus was the first Christmas present. Okay, he probably wasn’t born in December – but he was GIVEN to us as an amazing GIFT, nonetheless. Today, at Christmastime we are given ample opportunity and another excuse (despite whatever commercialism does with it) to celebrate and mimic the grace and generosity of our loving God!
The meaning of Christmas is multifaceted and every aspect of it should be examined. Here are some things to consider ….
Jesus’ birth gave us the beginning of a team – a team that works in opposition to what the unbelieving world would have us be. Indeed, there are two distinctly separate teams in this world: Jesus’ and satan’s. Jesus delineated and defined the teams early on in His ministry. In John chapter 8 He clearly identified the two families that now tenuously coexist here in this fallen world: they are the sons of God and the sons of satan. Don’t believe it? Look it up.
Jesus told his followers to expect trouble. He essentially said, “Hey, they hated me – you can therefore be sure they will hate you as well (if you live up to all that I’ve given you) (John 15:18). The apostle Paul told us that our peculiar spirituality will be in strong enmity with the spirit of this world. It’s always been that way, and be assured that 2014 will bring with it even more problems for the children of God.
Many professing Christians don’t take to heart the fact that trouble will absolutely come with that present. Because of our association with Christ we have to expect significant problems – yes, purely due to that relationship.
Jesus didn’t come just to give us a peaceful Christmas – but, rather, just as he said, He brought us a sword that will divide people against each other (Matthew 10:34). Jesus didn’t stay a sweet baby in a manger. He grew up and completed the toughest job (and won no popularity contests in the process).
If you are truly a child of God (all of us are His creations, but not all are his children), keep in mind that you are destined to be hated by those who remain members of satan’s family. Their dark lord knows who your Lord is, and he will use his unregenerate pawns in discouraging and encumbering your godly progress at every turn. But, rejoice in remembering that ‘greater is He (Jesus) that is in you than he (devil) that is in the world’ (1 John 4:4), and again, that we ‘can do all things through Christ who strengthens us’ (Phil. 4:13). Indeed, in this coming year – seeing that we are surrounded by such unvarnished WICKEDNESS – remember to ‘be sly as serpents’ while being ‘gentle as doves’ (Matthew 10:16).
If you are not entirely certain as to which family you belong to spiritually, you can quickly settle that mystery by simply sending up a sincere prayer asking to received the gift of the salvation that He worked so arduously in attaining for us. In your heart agree with the charge that you are guilty of violating God’s commandments, then call upon the Lord Jesus to come and occupy your heart (Romans 10:13)! He doesn’t expect you to condemn yourself – your unbelief had already done that for you. But, like a good father, He so wants you to possess all the very best that He has prepared for your life. Apart from Jesus, you can’t do that.
Want to please God this Christmas? Unwrap and accept the precious gift that he has waiting for you. Simply agree with your need of His salvation – ‘BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved’ (Acts 16:31). That’s all it takes. Every other false religion on the earth has dozens of jobs you must perform in order to supposedly ‘measure up’ to God – but those are just lies. Like a good dad, God did all the work for you. Now it is up to you to accept that gift.
That’s what Christmas is all about.
I love Christmas!
Have a Merry Christmas!