“Tis the season!”
scream Google and the malls in unison.
Christmas is around the corner. A lot of us are busy finishing year-end work projects, buying presents, bombarding colleagues with “Secret Santa” gifts, decorating and re-decorating Christmas trees, taking Christmas celebrations to old age homes and orphanages, watching blockbuster movies, attending midnight masses, or just taking to Facebook to say “Merry Christmas”.
Meanwhile, if you’ve been following the news, the world around us faces some level of Christmas-related drama. In Brunei, you could be punished for celebrating Christmas illegally. Is that just one Muslim ruler’s whim and fancy? Not really. Somalia has thought it best to ban public Christmas celebrations too. Countries like Tajikistan have happily banned Christmas trees, gift-giving and Father Frost (their Santa Claus – cool name huh!). This is sad, but I am mildly amused that these governments are expending energy and time banning paraphernalia.
If you’re thinking, “weird tyrants!”, try the US!
Certain states in the US will go miles to show you the inappropriateness of using the greeting “Merry Christmas”, which has been replaced with “Happy Holidays” in order to not offend people of other faiths. A sparkling example of “tolerance”, I must say!
In about 10 days from now, a lot of us Christmas revelers will be left with a sense of deflation and all too familiar feelings of –
But right now, a lot of us are trying to celebrate all that we can, hoping the fanfare, the carols, the colours and the sounds will bring us a joy that will last long enough. But no; not even Christmas celebrations can satisfy the human heart.
Can Christmas merrymakers stay awake all night, cook a banquet and swipe debit cards till they are almost empty, but still miss out on the biggest thing Christmas is about? Here are 3 pitiful places to be, post-Christmas-
1) Attended a dozen Christmas events but neglected THE Christmas Event itself.
Gospel meeting to
Bible study to
Midnight mass to
Dinner with colleagues to
Church lunch to
Movie with friends to
Christmas rock concert to –
You get the point. We can get so busy during Christmas holidays, our bosses might begin to wonder – “why did I give them an off on Christmas? They seem to work harder on holidays!”.
Sadly, it’s possible to do attend all these events and still miss out on God with us. Someone so treasured and so worth our life, entered time and space as a wailing infant.
Jesus’ advent was so special and so crucial, the Holy Bible had predicted it for centuries. One old man, when he saw the baby Jesus at the Jewish temple, exclaimed that he had seen the Lord’s “salvation, a light of revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:30-31). As C.S. Lewis rightly pointed out –
Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.”
Though this is the only occasion God became a man to enter into our sufferings and then died and faced hell to rescue us from divine punishment, it’s perfectly possible that God’s people walk past a mini- nativity set and think of Christmas trees and cakes but think absolutely nothing of Him.
2) Purchased gifts for friends and family but I was rarely mindful of God’s gift.
“Shop till you drop” has never been truer than during festivals. Christmas and New Year are just shopping avalanches waiting to happen because well- you need to buy presents right? Because that’s what everybody does during Christmas right? Certainly, you and your family deserves presents, right?
It’s possible that while we swipe our cards, the best gift we could ever receive and never buy from God almighty – Jesus Christ, the Son of God be forgotten.
This gift is unique- it’s a free gift, but it will cost you everything you got, and yet you shall be glad you gave it all up!
This gift is beautiful because it will restore your broken relationship with God and start your journey to authentic restoration.
This gift is priceless because Jesus himself would say later, “ For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? (Luke 9:25)”
3) Sang two dozen Christmas carols but my mind was fixed on myself.
Christmas is a great time to set our eyes afresh on the love of God, which is found only in Jesus – and to love our neighbours because we have been loved so dearly by God himself! But if all we could do while carol-singing was to let our minds fixate over what we’re wearing, how we’re singing, what we will eat, or how dinner would taste, then we can be certain our Christmas work is just worship of ourselves and not of Jesus.
Do the songs you sing pass on to you of an eternal, non-worldly perspective?
Does the food you eat or cook remind you of Jesus final words to remember Him as often as we eat and drink?
Do our clothes remind us that His perfect righteousness covers us graciously? That our good works can be now done in His power with joy and not just to show people or God?
So while I hope you get to enjoy cakes, movies & decorating Christmas trees, I pray and hope that with you, I will not miss Jesus this Christmas. If you have Jesus and none of the trinkets and shopping galas, you shall not be in a pitiful place! This is probably a good time to ask God the Holy Spirit to bring to our minds truths about Jesus that magnify Him, so our souls can enjoy Him above all things!
May it never be as it was said of old, in the land of Narnia –
Image Source – Deseret News
Here is a mixed bag of resources that might interest you. As you will see, I am better than your average Santa!
25 bizzare things about Christmas in different cultures and times.
To anyone who’s curious on how Christmas in India is usually celebrated – here! Please note that this is a general scenario, it’s all subject to change!
Two famous Christians’ surprising views on Christmas – C.S. Lewis & Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Christmas posts from Margfamilies.com, 2014 –
On Santa Claus & Saint Nicholas.
On the tragic school massacre in Pakistan & the child-massacre in Bethlehem.
On Jesus’ divine suicide mission.
From The Gospel Coalition –
Six Ways Not to Preach the Birth of Jesus.