I’m not a big fan of clichés. There is one cliché, however, that I do like to use at this time of the year: Jesus is the reason for the season.
Does my use of it betray a lack of creativity? Perhaps, but I can’t think of a better way to summarize what is most important about the season we are entering. It’s short, it’s memorable, and it’s true — just what we need to stay focused.
Christmas has become one of the most complicated seasons of the year. It plays a huge part in the economic success of many businesses. So much so that Jesus has, in large part, been removed from much of the season. In our post-Christian culture overall, Jesus is no longer the reason for Christmas. Instead, the reasons have become family, food, fun, and festivity. There’s nothing wrong with those, of course. But those aren’t the reasons for the season.
There is only one primary reason for the season. For those of us who are committed Christians, we have to fight against the temptation to lose sight of Christ during Christmas.
Let’s not be frustrated or cynical about how the world views Christmas. Instead, let’s be the Christmas we would want the world to share.
We have to make sure, at least in our personal and family life, that He remains the reason for the season.
What should our Christmas season look like when we focus our attention on Jesus? First Corinthians 10:31 comes to mind in discussions like this: "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." Let me paraphrase it for Christmas: "Whatever you do this Christmas, do all to the glory of Jesus." Here are some examples:
First, share the Savior. When you share gifts with non-Christian neighbors, relatives, or coworkers, include a note with a verse of Scripture pointing to Jesus. If you have unchurched friends, invite them to attend your church’s Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service. If there are singles or shut-ins who don’t have family to join for Christmas, invite them into your home. These are all things Jesus did for us, and things we can do for others in His name.
Second, share the hope. Christmas can be a hopeless time for many, especially depending on what is happening in the world. As you keep your own heart and mind focused on the "sure and steadfast" hope that is "an anchor of the soul" (Hebrews 6:19), you can be a source of hope for others. Hopeless folks are desperate for reasons to have hope in this world — and Christmas is the most hopeful time of the year for those who know Jesus.
Third, share the peace. Don’t let the busyness and demands of the Christmas season rob you of your peace. Traffic jams, gift lists, last-minute shopping, out-of-town guests — there are plenty of opportunities to trade contentment for conflict, both internal and external. Remember that the angels declared that the birth of Jesus heralded peace on earth (Luke 2:14). And the words of what has become a traditional Christmas song are right on target: "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me."
Fourth, share the joy. Anyone who has Jesus, hope, and peace in Him, will surely have joy. Does any Christmas hymn say it better than "Joy to the World"? Right in the first line of the hymn we find the reason for having joy at Christmas: "The Lord is come!" And then comes the admonition, "Let every heart prepare Him room" — which makes us ask, "Have I prepared room in my heart this Christmas for Jesus?" Let Jesus give you His joy so you can share that joy with others.
Let’s not be frustrated or cynical about how the world views Christmas. Instead, let’s be the Christmas we would want the world to share. When our Christmas season is filled with celebrations of His birth and life, others will take note and see something different. If they see in our life the Jesus whose birth we celebrate, this Christmas may be a new beginning for them.