In the holiday movie comedy, “Christmas with the Kranks,” Luther and Nora Krank decide to boycott everything Christmas. Instead they decide to use the money they save to go on a trip to the Caribbean. Their friends and neighbors are mortified by their lack of the holiday spirit, especially since they were usually the must raucous celebrators of Christmas in the neighborhood. By movie’s end though, by some miracle, they finally come to celebrate the season and everyone lives happily ever after.
With all the hustle and bustle, is it any wonder someone would want to skip Christmas? You’ve probably thought about doing just that, but you have never had the nerve to vocalize your thoughts much less act upon them (43 percent of Americans feel this way). You were afraid someone would brand you a scrooge or look at you as if you were unspiritual for not having the Christmas spirit.
Today, I want to propose something radical. I think all the trappings we put on Christmas hide its real purpose. I know that all the stress we feel at Christmas robs us of the joy associated with the season’s true meaning. I am sure that we all agree that the busyness of the season squeezes out any genuine reflection of its significance. I loathe, as you do, that the season is all about anything but what it is really all about. My proposal is quite simple. This year, skip Christmas. Instead of Christmas, as our world knows it, really celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
This is a noble proposal don’t you think? Instead of trying to multi-task this holiday season be single minded. First and foremost, decide you and yours will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Lord, the Savior of the world.
How, you may ask. can we possibly do this? Let me suggest five very simple ways this can be accomplished in our lives.
First, don’t get caught up in the Christmas shows but rather get re-acquainted again with the real Christmas story. Let me remind you that “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, and “A Wonderful Life” are not the real deal. We find the real story in our Bibles in the gospels. Take time to read and meditate on this, the greatest story ever told. Make sure your family does the same.
Secondly, don’t focus on your gifts but rather worship the Gift-Giver who gave the ultimate gift. Christmas is not about what we can do to show others we love them. It is about what God has already done to show us the greatness of His love for us (See John 3:16). The best gift you or I have ever given or that we have ever received cannot compare with what God has given. Our response to Him should be like that of the Apostle Paul who proclaimed “Thanks be to God for His Indescribable Gift!”
Thirdly, don’t look for the Christmas mood but rather live out the message found at the coming of our Lord. The “Christmas spirit” is elusive at best. The words about Jesus’ coming are not. He came to seek and save that which is lost and we must do the same. He came to give a better quality of life and we should seek to experience that as well. How silly it would be for us to give out gifts at Christmas without telling people about our Savior.
Fourthly, don’t get caught up in putting up decorations. Instead make sure you put on the mind of Christ. At His first advent it is said of Jesus “Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.” (Philippians 2:6-7a). People are not eternally impressed by our houses trimmed with lights. They are, however, drawn to Christ when our lives reflect His light via our good works.
Fifth and finally, don’t over romanticize about the babe in a manger. Instead, remember that the baby is the Lord of glory. One day He will come again to this earth. He will set up His kingdom and He shall reign forever and ever as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Hallelujah; hallelujah. Amen. Hallelujah; hallelujah. Amen.
Pastor Dave Watson