Christmas comes like an avalanche—we’re overwhelmed with a calendar crammed with social events, a long shopping list for family and friends, a feeling there’s no way we can get everything done in time. Why does this keep happening every year? Could it be we’ve let our culture’s materialistic focus replace heartfelt celebration of joy at the thought of God sending us a Savior?
By the time we reach the Christmas Eve candlelight service and sing “all is calm”, nothing is. Frenetic hectivity has stolen the heavenly peace God offers us. We’re buried under cold impersonal commercialism that focuses on gift-giving without much consideration of giving ourselves. We’re paralyzed by icy individualism that insists we get what we want for Christmas, without much thought of what Jesus might want for Christmas.
I don’t mean to come across as a cantankerous Scrooge or a bad-tempered killjoy. I just hope we don’t miss Christmas. If we’re not careful, we can get so busy that the season passes over us like a plane at night or in the clouds, heard but not really seen.
Christmas is a season of hope—pointing to the Savior able to give us the contentment we need, sweeter than Santa Claus’ promise to bring us more things we want that will later be tossed in a dumpster. Merchants have practically stolen the season by their message of “Buy, buy, buy”. Even so, this season is about God, who sent His Son into this world so that the world through him might be saved.
We naturally think of this time as a season of receiving. Think of what we can receive from God—salvation from our sins, a sense of belonging to Jesus, a grand purpose that makes life an adventure, and work to do in His Kingdom. All of this is part of the hope that is ours from our relationship with Christ.
We also think of Christmas time as a season of giving. What can we give to God this year to express our faith and obedience? What about giving our hearts to Christ—better than a shepherd’s lamb or a wise man’s part? What about giving a generous offering to His church to spread the message about Christ and His love, thinking of it as “My Gift for Christ”?
Let’s celebrate Christmas God’s way this year—thanking heaven for eternal hope, expressing love to our friends on this journey of faith, and giving sincere praise to God. Paul’s prayer in Romans 15:3 is my prayer for you—I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
If we celebrate Christmas properly, it will not feel like an avalanche, but a gentle snowfall—reflecting hope from beyond the stars, echoing peace we have from our trusting relationship with Jesus, and sparkling joy in the pleasure of the company of Christ, the perfect gift.
Pastor Johnny Almond