In America, we presume to understand Christmas for what it truly is:
- We strive to focus on Christ. We attend church and have pageants which share the message of God’s love in sending His only Son.
- We strive to focus on family. We gather with relatives to play games or eat a feast.
- We strive to focus on giving. We lavish gifts on family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, postal workers, acquaintances.
Somehow, despite our best efforts, we have still missed the essence of Christmas. Perhaps America — in and of itself — is an obstacle to truly understanding Christmas.
So here’s a glimpse into my mind and the things which I’ve been pondering:
- How can we comprehend the degree to which God humbled himself when we live in the very luxury he forsook in lieu of a lowly birth? How can we understand what God gave up when He came to earth if we give not out of sacrifice, but only from our abundance?
- How can we seek the Incarnate if we are seeking the citadel of Self? Christmas in America is a “feel-good” holiday and thus, the sacred has become self-centered. (We spread the Spirit of the Season, stuff our bellies with rich and lavish foods, gather round the glow of a fire with friends, and sing carols of joy, snow, presents, and reindeer…all in an attempt to experience a heart-warming feeling.)
- How can we worship, giving Glory to God in the highest, if He doesn’t have preeminence as our greatest treasure…that in which we value the most, pour our greatest efforts into, have the deepest longing for? Have we altered our priorities in such a way that we worship Christmas shopping (or food preparation or family)?
I challenge you to contemplate such questions and re-evaluate your focus this next year.
May this retrospective be an encouragement to you. May it refresh your perspective about celebrating Christ.