I must admit, I'm a bit of a scrooge during the holiday season. It's not that I don't like Christmas, in fact there are many things about Christmas that I love. The family, the food, the gift giving and receiving. Yet, there are things that I don't enjoy, like long lines at department stores, the same Christmas programs every year, and the commercialism. There are things about Christmas that I don't understand, like how they are already playing Christmas music when it hasn't even been thanksgiving yet.
I saw a sign last year that said "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" And I think this is what most Christians believe, and when I say Christian I don't mean a good person or a person who is an American or even a person that believes Jesus was a good teacher. When I say Christian I mean a person who has had a "born again" experience and has dedicated their life to following the way of Jesus. That sign got me thinking "Is Jesus really the reason for the season?" Is Jesus what we are excited about? Is celebrating the arrival of our savior what we most look forward to during Christmas? Isn't it strange that a word and holiday containing Christ seems so devoid of Christ?
The more of these questions I ask myself the more it becomes clear that we are the reason for the season, and not Jesus. I know it sounds blasphemous and I do believe that Jesus is the reason for the season, but if it wasn't for our sin Jesus would never have had to come in the first place. Jesus is the reason for the season, but so are we. We were the ones that needed saving. Jesus came to save the world from sin. His arrival was not magnificent, He didn't have a Macy's day parade to usher in His kingdom. He came because of our sin in the most humble of ways. And His act of love and sacrifice deserves more than just a season, it demands our very lives.
There is a great verse in the Bible that says "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." John 3:17
This means that the whole world was on God's mind. God had sent Jesus to be the savior of everyone and not just Christians, and not just Americans. Your Muslim neighbor is the reason for the season, your atheist relative is the reason for the season. Your enemy, your friend, everyone in the whole world is the reason for the season. Our savior is not regulated to our church or our hemisphere. He is not bound only to those you agree with. God has the whole world on His mind.
So the next time your Mother in Law is driving you insane with making Christmas all about her, tell her that she is the reason for the season. Because Jesus died for her too, just like he died for you. And He came with more than just this season on His mind.
(Special thanks to Ben Bowman for this week's entry)