After all the commotion has died down, the presents have been opened, tried on, played with, hung-up and put away, now what? Christmas can be a lot like the tree I wrestle into our old rusty stand every year. We take great care in selecting just the right one, cutting off the stump to make sure it takes water and remains relatively fresh, and then decorating it with ornaments that have both beauty and sentimental value. But by the first week of January and the time has come to haul it out to the curb; it’s become dry and is of little or no value. After vacuuming up the needles, there is little or no evidence that it ever existed. We used to have an artificial tree we adorned every Christmas, but the routine was largely the same except for the clean-up.
The real problem for many is that the Christmas season is just that, a season. It comes and goes with predictability and although it will come again, just like the snows of winter, it will melt away and have little or no lasting effect. This is however in stark contrast to events surrounding the birth of Christ. Christ’s birth was a one-time miraculous event, and there was nothing routine about it. In fact, with the exception of Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, there is nothing else in all eternity to compare it to. As for having a lasting effect on people, both those who have lived and died, as well as those living today, there is nothing in all eternity that has had greater impact or is of greater importance. The birth of the Son of God changed everything and is supposed to have changed everything for all who accept Him as Lord and Savior. Yes, the birth of Christ is to be remembered, just as is His crucifixion and resurrection. But it’s to be more than just a sentimental remembrance or an earthly celebration. Jesus’ coming changed the world forever and we are supposed to be changed by it, not for a season but for the rest of our lives.
The birth of Jesus can bring real joy to those who accept Him as Savior and Lord, or is a harbinger of spending life as if living in an empty shell and then separated from God for eternity; forever tormented by our sin and shame. Don’t misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with Santa, Rudolf, brightly wrapped presents under the tree; any more than there is anything wrong with the Easter bunny, egg hunts and those awful yellow marshmallow chicks. It’s all great fun and a time of family gatherings and shared memories. However, these are the part of the holiday which will inevitably fade from memory as they get pushed out by the reality of everyday life; they have little or nothing to do with the birth, life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As you gather with others over the holidays, make it your goal to look for opportunities to share the real significance of the Savior’s birth. Use this Christmas to give someone a gift that will last forever, not just for a season. This is what it really means to share the joy of the holiday season; share the real reason for His coming.
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2: