Saturday, August 27, 2011

12/08/2009 Spirit of Christmas

Like most things Jesus-related, our U.S. culture has toned down the true meaning of Christmas into a one-size-fits-all present that anyone can accept. I'm not just referring to the hyper-materialistic pageantry of the shopping spree. I mean the fluffy Hallmark-esque mantras that people politely repeat to each other.

"Christmas is about giving, not getting."
"We all just want peace on earth."

"Why don't we just spread kindness and understanding this Christmas?"

The problem with these superficial statements is that they refer to truth but don't actually support it. I agree that this season is about giving, about peace, and about kindness, but not in the ways that these flippant comments infer.

Christmas is literally "Christ's Mass", the celebration of the Christ (Messiah, Anointed One, Deliverer). Why do we celebrate the Christ? To understand the true meaning of Christmas, we have to be able to answer this! And answering means that first, we must acknowledge that we need a Messiah. We, the human race, are in a mess. We're leading a rebellion against God yet wanting the benefits he promised us back in paradise, like true happiness, satisfaction, and the good life that lasts forever. The problem is that we can't enjoy those gifts in the absence of God, and we aren't able to repair the rift between us.

So, God decided that he would give us a solution. Christmas is God's gift. The gift of a deliverer for us. And not just any deliverer, but GOD HIMSELF. GOD, the God who created the entire universe, who formed and then placed a star a trillion miles away from this planet, who knows every type of creature crawling on the bottom of the ocean, who designed the amazing intricacies of the human body - that GOD planned to deliver this crazy human race by placing his infinite, omnipotent, omnipresent self into the limited confines of human flesh. As a helpless, poor, unknown baby.

When I say that Christmas is about giving, not getting, I mean that Christmas is about a God who gave everything he could so that he could get me back, a God who keeps giving. He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Christmas signifies the ultimate peace offering - we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ has done for us.

But instead of celebrating this deliverer who promises peace, we show contempt for the riches of his kindness, not realizing that God's kindness is intended to turn us back to him.

If we want to truly celebrate Christ's Mass, then, I think we need to -
  • express our thanks for the gift of a deliverer!
  • accept this gift so that we can rest in God's peace
  • respond to God's kindness by turning to him
Oh, let's be glad in the presence of God! Festival joy!
The joy of a great celebration, sharing rich gifts and warm greetings.
For a child has been born—for us!
the gift of a son—for us!
He'll take over the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

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