As soon as the leftover turkey is put away and the last crumb of pumpkin pie is eaten, our focus shifts to Christmas. Trees go up, lights are hung, lists are made and, as if the starting gun went off, Black Friday kicks off the shopping season. The month of December is a time of great activity and preparation; baking, wrapping, partying. As much as I love the festivities, this has always troubled me. In the past few years, my spirit has been troubled in a deeper way. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the world. Yet how many people that don’t know Him except in name, are frantically preparing for a party that doesn’t include Him? Jesus is the centerpiece of this celebration, yet He has been banned from many public places – no manger scenes, no “religious” music, don’t even use the word Christmas, instead say “Happy Holidays!” Christmas has become a commercial holiday and what’s behind that is the spirit of Mammon. It’s all about money, sales, and bottom lines. You may not realize how this spirit affects our culture because it’s so “normal” to us. We are so caught up in it that it’s hard to see any other way to celebrate. If you have always spent a great deal of time shopping, wrapping and preparing in this way, it’s hard to stop!
It takes a great deal of effort to swim against this tide and return to the true meaning of Christmas. But for those that love Jesus, this is the only right thing to do! Celebrating Advent brings Jesus back to the center. We can read the Christmas Story and be reminded how God set up events to prepare people for Jesus’ birth. We read the prophecies that were given hundreds of years before and we see the heart of God being played out in human history. We read about the signs in the sky, the angels, the prophets and seers, the shepherds and those that would be in the intimate circle of cooperating with God to bring forth His Son. The display of God’s goodness and glory is stunning. Because we’ve heard it so many times, it can almost be read like a fairytale. Many read it as something that happened long ago, not realizing the profound impact that event still has on us today. This story is true and timeless.
Advent began yesterday, November 28. My encouragement to you is to take time to celebrate Advent this year. The chronological bible puts all the gospels together so you can read the full story easily. Pray and ask God how you should celebrate the remembrance of Jesus’ birth. Ask Him for His creativity to give gifts, both materially and in serving, to family and friends. If you have children, engage in activities that will build their spirits and quench the “gimmes.”
Keep Christ in Christmas and drink deeply of Him this season! You will not be disappointed!
See our resource page for a creative way to celebrate Advent with “Create Your Own Advent Book – a Family Keepsake.”