Christmastime is full of great seasonal traditions. We decorate Christmas trees, make Christmas cookies, share Christmas gifts. The memories we make with friends and family in these are precious and indispensable.
But sometimes, it seems, there are just too many traditions! I don’t know about you, but at the top of December every year, I have to double-check my entire calendar for the next five weeks, and then triple-check it each time a new event comes up.
My calendar doesn’t fill up with bad things. In fact, they’re all things that I love to do! Playing music at Christmas parties, having hot chocolate with friends, putting together presents for people I love . . . Nothing on that lengthy to-do list is something I want to miss. The problem simply becomes cramming too many good things into this month. Invariably, I end up rushing from activity to activity, forgetting to make time to rest, and eventually falling behind where I wanted to be by the time the season’s over.
I think it’s safe to say that this happens to all of us to some degree, especially those of us in the church, when we are especially focused on making sure The Reason For The Season is front and center. This isn’t news to anybody, of course. There is nothing new under the sun.
However, each of us could use a regular reminder about our perspective on these bustling seasons of activity, because sometimes we end up going through the motions of celebrating Christmastime without giving ourselves the chance to actively and deeply remember what we are actually celebrating: Jesus Christ and His love for us. With everything that's going on, sometimes people worship the season of gift-giving and blessing-sharing rather than the Giver of gifts and blessings Himself. We can be thankful for the family and friends in our lives, the warm fireside and hot cocoa, the tangible gifts we give each other, and more - yet forget to go the full mile.
I’m not saying that sharing our blessings is bad, of course! Be thankful in everything! (1 Thessalonians 5:18) However, simply celebrating the worldly things in our lives, even if they’re hard-wired and Bible-backed Christmas traditions, is stopping just shy of the gate. We can’t trade the “good things” of the Christmas season for the “great things” - in fact, THE thing - which is the love we have from and for God.
Jesus is, above all, the Reason for the season. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have everlasting life.” We are celebrating that incomparable story of redemption. We are celebrating the infinite and undying love that the Creator of the universe has for us. We are celebrating the fact that we have everlasting life - life overflowing with blessing and glory and reconciliation with the Father, because of the sacrifice His Son willingly made.
These greater things are so unbelievably beautiful and worthy of praise that we MUST celebrate. We MUST share this Good News with our friends and family. To refuse to do so would be selfish, and in fact would be the antithesis of the Love that has only just begun to move in us.
My advice to you? Celebrate this Christmas! Celebrate, because we have set aside this time of the year to remember the greatest story in the history of the world, and the ultimate goodness that has been given to us. Celebrate with family and friends and anyone who will join you. Celebrate by yourself, in the car, with the radio cranked up. Celebrate because this is a season of hope and joy and love, and the blessing that exceeds all worldly imagination.
Just remember to praise the One who makes all things possible - not merely the people and things He gives us on this earth.
Worship & Media Director
Riviera Baptist Church