As I make this post it is the day before Christmas Eve. I guess you could say it is Christmas Eve "Eve"! It's that time of the year when people are running themselves ragged just to meet a big ole deadline...Christmas Day. Did I call Christmas Day a deadline? Actually, for many people that's what it is. As I peruse the status updates of my many FB friends, you see it. "I finally got all my Christmas shopping done." Of course it has to be done by the deadline...Christmas Day (or for some Christmas Eve night). "Things will be very chaotic at my house because of all the family coming in for Christmas." How about this one..."I have to clean, clean, and clean before the family arrives!" Of course, there is nothing morally wrong with all this. But my question is, for those who are followers of Christ, have we made Christmas (that is supposed to be the celebration of the birth of our Lord) nothing more than a deadline? Does all the rushing, shopping, cleaning, cooking, traveling, and stressing point us to the birth of the King of Kings? Does it point our family, friends, and co-workers to Him as well? Are you even thinking about His extraordinary arrival during all this? Just asking.
Every year at about this time there arises a debate over whether or not Christians should celebrate Christmas because some believe its roots are in pagan rituals of the past. Of course, any time believers join in the processes of the world (activities that turn us away from the truth of Christ), we no longer can let His light shine through us. However...if we determine to make Jesus, and the celebration of His arrival, our sole motivation...we will function as vessels of His life, peace, and joy in the midst of it all. After all, Christ-followers are no longer of this world. Our lives are engineered (by Him) to be counter-cultural, and to go against the flow of this world. If we truly are walking with Him, we stick out like a sore thumb anyway. How much more during this time of commercialism and stress the world offers. Christmas is about peace and joy, not debt and stress.
Finally, could it be that the Christmas season is so depressing for many folks because they don't see the reality of what it really is? Could it be that many folks need to see that there are those (especially during this time of the year) who are rooted in the light, peace, and joy that Jesus gives. You don't change things by throwing out the baby with the bath water. What we must do is strategically look at the Christmas season as an incredible time to impact the lives of others who need the peace and joy that we already have. As we truly worship Him in the midst of it all, there will be those who see the light of who He really is. So drop the deadline by focusing on Who really matters. Celebrate His arrival. This is true Christmas!