This Isn’t Christmas!!! (Part 4)
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.”
Many of us have heard this story dozens of time either on television, radio and especially at church but some of us still miss the point. What is the real meaning of Christmas? What has nothing to do with Christmas? Why do we do what we do during this holiday season? Join us as we explore the meaning of Christmas in our new series “This Isn’t Christmas.”
IV. Staying Out Of Church
Before we begin to address the subject, I think it’s important to explain what people do for the Christmas holiday in justification for missing church.
I recently read an amazing article that pretty much sums up the way Americans spend the Christmas season. What category do you find yourself?
Most Americans: Celebrating a Secular Christmas
- Spread cheer. When you hear Christmas songs, instead of being grumpy smile and whistle along. Being cheerful during the Christmas season really will help in spreading Christmas spirit to those around you, plus it helps you enjoy it more too. Wish others a Merry Christmas if you know they celebrate Christmas. If you’re not sure, just say Happy Holidays! Either way, you are spreading the holiday cheer.
- Enjoy your country’s Christmas traditions. Let yourself be a kid again and enjoy the holiday spirit. Whether it’s leaving cookies out for Santa Claus, watching for Baba Noel out the window, or leaving your clogs by the fire for Santa, indulge in a little holiday tradition and give into the magic.
- Decorate your house for Christmas. The possibilities for decorating are nearly endless. Put Christmas lights on your house. Hang mistletoe in the doorways (particularly if you know that special someone is coming over,) hang a homemade wreath on your door, or put Christmas figurines like Santa or Rudolph out on your counters.
- Buy and decorate a Christmas tree. Go with your family to your local Christmas tree farm to cut your own or head to a lot selling pre-cut Christmas trees. Pick out a Christmas tree that fits your house. After you’ve gotten your tree situated, wrap it in lights and begin hanging the ornaments. Don’t forget to water it occasionally and safeguard it from pets!
- Join up with friends and family. For many people, Christmas is about gathering with friends and family to enjoy each others company and celebrate the holiday. The day is a national holiday and most folks get a day off work. Take advantage of this time to reconnect with friends and family. Create your own traditions or celebrate with the traditions that have been passed down in your family.
- Invite your friends or family over for Christmas dinner. Make it a potluck if you want to keep expenses (and the workload) manageable. The important thing is just to get together with people you love and make the winter a little warmer by sharing the warmth of caring with them. Consider making a traditional Christmas dinner complete with roast turkey, or create your own traditions by branching out and making whatever you want!
- Go Christmas caroling. Either have it at your home, go door to door, or go to an old folks’ home and do it. Learn some Christmas or seasonal songs, and sing! It’s fun, and even if your voice isn’t great, hopefully, you won’t be singing alone––you’ll get some cover from your more talented friends! If you can’t go caroling for some reason, blast Christmas music throughout your house, while you’re wrapping presents, or during your Christmas party.
- Watch Christmas movies. Have a movie night during which you invite friends or family over and serve hot apple cider and popcorn or cocoa and cookies. Play Christmas movies like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A Christmas Story”, “Santa’s Apprentice” or any number of other seasonal movies.
- Do a generous act. This is in the spirit of spreading joy, kindness, beauty and love during the Christmas season. Maybe you can volunteer at a homeless shelter, buy some vintage decorations at or donate some of your unwanted decorations to a thrift shop, drop spare change into the local charity drive bucket, help out someone with decorating like doing the tree for them and putting up outdoor lights, or maybe you could help with a local toy drive or food drive for those who have less than you do.
- Consider giving gifts wrapped in lovely wrapping paper. You don’t have to spend big bucks on gifts––small tokens are fine. Some families enjoy giving gifts to one another to show their appreciation for one another. You can buy gifts or make them yourself. Learn how to become an expert gift wrapper here.
- Do something fun with your family outdoors. There’s nothing as fun to do on a Christmas night than to walk or drive around town and neighborhood looking at local decorations. Head down to the beach or the local park. In areas where it snows, go sledding or build a snowman! If there’s no snow, bundle up and go on a long walk or hike with your loved ones. It’s always great to get out of the house and breath in the fresh air.
- Deal with “Scrooges” gracefully. If someone says “Let’s cancel Christmas celebrations” or something else negative, simply say something disarming, like, “Sorry you don’t enjoy this holiday. You’re still welcome to come and join us for the day if you haven’t got anyplace else to go.” No matter how they react, just blow them off as kindly as possible and continue your celebration, showing compassion to the poor Scrooge. Also, try and see things from their point of view. Ask them if they’re going through a tough time or whether they have a specific problem. Don’t be quick to judge.
Out of all 12 of those things that we do during the Christmas season, very few, if any involve sharing what Jesus Christ did for mankind. In fact, most of these things involve doing things that makes on e feel good about themselves. Here’s a small thought about each of these:
- Instead of “getting” the holiday spirit, be filled with the Holy Spirit. This will enable you to smile, whistle and be happy the whole year instead of two-three weeks a year. Additionally, this will prompt you to chant “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays.”
- Enjoy tradition but also seek to tell the story of Christ. This would help you establish new traditions.
- People spends hundreds of dollars decorating their homes in an attempt to kindle holiday cheer but most of the same ones that spend big bucks in decorations are usually the same ones with big problems. It would be a shame if your exterior brought others joy while your interior languished with sadness and depression.
- Christmas trees aren’t bad but remember the one who dies on the tree 2,000 years ago. As He cried for water and they gave Him wine mingled with gall. What do you celebrate?
- I totally agree with this one, however consider this question: Why do we spends hundreds of dollars trying to impress people that we don’t really know when the ones that we’re close to only get a smile and cheap card? Let’s seek to do better with our sphere of influence.
- Recently, there was a family that had the wife endure a debilitating surgery around this time of year and another family took upon themselves to make this family’s dinner. This is what we should do! Why do we, most families wait until this time of year in order to do good for others?
- We may want to consider singing the Christmas songs that exhault Jesus Christ and tell the story of a man named Santa or animal names Rudolph.
- I know a family that watches Christmas movies together but after the movies they gives testimonies. Then this family reads the text in Matthew about the Christmas birth of Jesus. What do you do when these movies come on? Are you so into the plot that you forget that Jesus is the reason for the season?
- Why do we need to do kind things for people only at Christmas? Are you just that stingy the rest of the year? I mean does this not make you a hypocrite? Being nice only when someone is watching or expecting you to be kind. You’ve just made Santa’s naughty list!!!!
- Again, we see that most Americans focus on the exterior rather than the interior. Where is your focus?
- Spend time with your family outdoors doing fun things. Invite the neighbors over and show them that Christians aren’t robots. This could be the very thing that opens their hearts to receive Jesus Christ.
- People that have poor attitudes are upset because they may have something or someone missing. They may not see the need to believe in the story of Jesus Christ. Why? They may say that He is a fairytale.
Why people see Jesus as a fairytale?
A. He didn’t answer their prayers – “If God would have answered my prayers and saved my loved one from dying then I would know that He loved me.” You can address this by saying, He understands your loss! The bible tells us that in Hebrews 4:15 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” God endured a terrible loss when Jesus died. Even as Jesus prayed that He didn’t have to die, He ultimately did. So God knows what it means to lose a loved one.
B. He didn’t provide for my need – “If God would have allowed me to keep my job and not get laid off right before Christmas, I would not call Him a fairytale.” You can address this by saying, Could it be that God allowed you to leave your last job because He has a better one planned for you? We often refuse to accept God’s gifts to us when things are comfortable. Sometimes, He has to push us out of our comfort zones before we can benefit from the gift He has or us around the corner. 2 Corinthians 5:7 “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”
C. He isn’t real to me like He is to others – “How is it that God allows some people to get away with murder but I do the right things and all I see are bad clouds.” You can address this by saying, “Hey, God has a ton of trust in you!” God will not allow your wagon to be loaded with more trouble than He has prepared you to handle! Could it be that He is trying to speak to you in this way because other ways aren’t getting your attention? He had to have Peter: sink in the water, see Moses and Elias, get told off by a chicken, run and hide after cutting off another man’s ear and see bacon in a net when he was hungry in order to get his attention. What has happened in your life that you could say “I believe God was trying to speak to me?”
People will never see Jesus as anything other than a fairytale if we treat His Word like a comic book and only read it when we have time. God is real and He is a Spirit that seeks to live in our hearts as we seek to allow Him access and please Him. We do this by showing kindness to others being the example of Jesus to others even when they are examples of Pharisees to us daily. Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Keep living your life with the mind of a God being real and the world we will turn the fairytale into a faith profession. In tomorrow’s devotional we will complete this series by talking about what Christians should do on Christmas. Join us again as we address real life issues with biblical answers on Worship With Willie.