Galatians 1:11 – I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. (NIV)
There are so many fables and stories, customs and events attached to our current celebrations of Christmas that it is sometimes hard to distinguish what is real, important, and true. We spend so much energy and effort in promoting, upholding, and supporting Christmas traditions that we frequently forget the simple gospel message at the heart of our holidays.
Most of the things that we do around this time of year have really no gospel connection to the miraculous birth of Christ. We get so wrapped up with wrapping up gifts that we miss God's message to the world: that we can experience everlasting hope, the forgiveness of sins, and the promise of eternal peace with God through Jesus.
We can make ourselves ill with the burdens that we place upon ourselves. We can exhaust ourselves emotionally by trying to make everything perfect for everyone else. Instead of allowing Christ to be the burden bearer of our worries and the perfecter of our peace, we busily battle our way through the commercial rush and allow peer pressure to dictate our lives.
Christmas was never meant to be like that. The celebration of Christ's birth was supposed to be a sacred time when we allowed Jesus to be the light of our world and the healer of our sorrows. He came to show us that life can sometimes be a delusion, and that we often deceive ourselves with our busyness. We really need Him at this special time, not only to save us from our sins, but also to save us from ourselves.
The gladness and goodness of the gospel at Christmas is a glorious God-given opportunity when we can truly experience a little of the joys of heaven on earth through welcoming Christ into our hearts and homes. After all, when everything is said and done and our finite lives draw to a close, it won't be the fables, customs, and traditions of Christmas that will get us into God's eternal presence; it will be only Jesus Christ our Saviour, Lord, and King who can do that for us.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, as we advance into another season of food, festivities, fables, and films, which will strain our finances, remind us that faith in You and true fellowship with God are the most important parts of Christmas. Keep us from burdening our lives and our loved ones with trinkets and tinsel, delusions and decorations that have no everlasting value. Remind us that You are the heart of our holidays and the centre of our celebrations. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.