It won’t be long now and families will be gathering, food will be on the stove, and children will be eagerly awaiting the expected gifts under the tree. The sights and sounds of the season will soon be at a climax. Everything leading up to December 25th makes us anticipate and prepare. Everything comes together for one BIG moment…and then poof, the moment is gone.
It happens every year, doesn’t it? The blahs and depression that often set in after a busy holiday season are real feelings. I’ve felt it before and usually it hits right after the last present is opened. I look at the mess of wrapping paper; toys, socks, and sweaters everywhere and honestly I get a little bummed. It’s over. Kaput. Finished. And we wait another 365 days until it comes back around again.
I know I’m being a bit overdramatic. For most people, life moves on and the busyness of a new calendar year quickly sets in. But I always think that in the hubbub and frenzy of Christmas, why is that we don’t get those feelings at any other time of the year? And why couldn’t we have those feelings at any other time of the year? I took some time to speculate about this and thought, you know we really could have Christmas all year round. Why not? Consider the following:
1. We don’t really know if Christmas is Christ’s exact birthday
I’m not going to get scholarly, but Christian tradition has some differing opinions as to the actual birthdate of Christ. A compelling reason to question December 25th is the fact that none of the Gospels nor the other books of the New Testament specifically give a day or even a time of year. The Romans were responsible especially under Emperor Constantine for taking a lot of pagan holidays and “Christianizing” them (here’s a great article on all of this: https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christmas/). One very likely scenario is that Christmas came about due to a need to rework a pagan holiday into something else that pointed to Christ. And what better way to point to Him than to celebrate His birth.
For this reason, I have friends and know of people who do not celebrate Christmas, at least as we know of it. And that’s ok. But I think it’s also ok to celebrate even knowing it perhaps it wasn’t the exact date Jesus entered this world. It doesn’t change the fact that He did enter and it doesn’t make any of the story less real. I’m not going to belabor the subject any further other than to say this: If we don’t know Christ’s exact birthday, what keeps us from celebrating His entry not only at Christmas, but also year round? It’s a reminder of God’s promises being kept and His plan of redemption coming to fruition.
2. Peace, love, joy, and hope regarding the Messiah isn’t just a once-a-year thing
If we walk around with an “everyday Christmas” mindset, those feelings we have during the holidays are going to naturally be expressed all year round. I’m not saying we have to sing the carols or leave the tree up past January (heavens no!). What I am saying is that our posture of gratitude and giving during Christmas should be something we exhibit throughout the rest of the year.
I see so many acts of sacrificial giving through time, resources, money and talent around Christmas. When those things are motivated by the Gospel, they are powerful demonstrations of our Savior’s love. Many hearts are tender and open to Christ during this time of year, but in reality, there’s always an opportunity and needs are all around us. In every month and season, do we take the time to notice how much this world needs Jesus? If we do, then Christmas becomes the culmination of it all…the frosting on the cake or the cherry on top!
Give to everyone who asks you, and from one who takes your things, don’t ask for them back. Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. Luke 6:30,31
3. Christ’s First Coming into this world reminds us that He will come again
"Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:11
I get goosebumps when I think about Jesus’ return. It could be today. It could be tomorrow. Could be next month, next year or in 5, 10, or 20 years (or more). We’re not called to know when but we are called to be ready. And in that readiness, I am certain of one thing: everyday I live is a day closer to when I will meet Jesus. Christmas is His arrival into the world. It’s His first-coming, but it won’t be His last. He is coming back again and He is looking for hearts that are ready to meet Him. Are you ready to meet Him?
Christmas is a great time to re-evaluate and determine what you’re living for. It brings a lot of emotions and feelings and it’s natural to stop and ponder it all. But let’s not go back to business as usual in our spiritual lives once the season is over. Jesus’ Second Coming is another promise of Scripture. In that promise, there are implications for us:
We are called to make disciples. We are called to be salt and light. We are called to push back the darkness. How are you doing these things today and everyday of the year? It’s a convicting question and I’m not here to accuse. I’m just here to say guys life is short…who or what are you living it for?
I’m encouraged this year to not move beyond Christmas as fast as I can. I want to stop and be mindful of the reason Christ came into this world. His birth was a miraculous event, followed by a life of miraculous events. But if the story ended there, the fact is we probably would not be celebrating anything today. It’s the end of the story that brings with it the reason we celebrate: Christ came into this world to die for our sins. From the grave, He rose again. He went to Heaven and He will return again someday. Are you ready?
Merry Christmas! I love you guys.