Segregating the Two Sides of Christmas
Is Christmas an important holiday to you? I suspect you’ll say, “yes.” And if you follow Jesus, you may say Christmas is the most important holiday because it celebrates his birth some 2,000 years ago.
That’s when Jesus came to earth to live among us and die in our place so that we can live forever with him. Happy birthday Jesus.
As the saying goes, “Jesus is the reason for the season.”
Though Jesus is the basis behind Christmas, how much of our celebration focuses on him? I’m talking about Christmas trees, ornaments, lights, Santa Claus, reindeers, sleighs, eggnog, parties at work, and gatherings with family and friends.
Then there’s gift giving. Though it’s gotten out of hand, the idea of giving to others at Christmas does—or should—remind us that Jesus gave us the greatest gift of all: his life. But how many of us remember that?
Instead, we tune in to Christmas specials, watch Christmas movies, and sing Christmas songs. A few of them are even about Jesus.
When we strip away all the commercialization of Christmas and the man-made traditions we’ve grown to cherish, what do we have left?
A nativity. A baby laying in a manger with Mary and Joseph gathered around and an array of barnyard animals looking on. Amazed shepherds—and their sheep—stand nearby. Magi approach on their camels (never mind that they didn’t arrive until much later).
Happy Birthday Jesus
We may go to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. There we hope to celebrate Jesus and sing some Christmas songs that are actually about him.
I wonder what Jesus thinks of our Christmas traditions, the day once intended for our focus to shift exclusively to him, but which has gotten eerily misappropriated.
Whenever I wish someone “Merry Christmas,” it carries a God-honoring implication, but I doubt many people receive it in the way I intend.
Let’s remember the Christmas story in the gospel of Luke: “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10, NIV). Then check out “Linus Reminds Us What Christmas Is All About.”
We may never be able to reclaim Christmas as the spiritual celebration it once was. But we can reframe it to recapture its intent. Yes, we can continue to celebrate Christmas. But don’t let a secular celebration overshadow the reason behind it.
Let’s celebrate Jesus’s birthday with equal—or even better—fervor. We can even make him a birthday cake and sing Happy Birthday to him.
Happy birthday Jesus (and Merry Christmas too)!
Celebrate Christmas in a fresh way with The Advent of Jesus. It’s a forty-day devotional that prepares our hearts to celebrate the arrival of Jesus in an engaging read. Begin your Advent journey now and gain a greater sense of wonder for the season.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.