In this Christmas UPGRADE, Dawn Wilson answers the criticism that Christians make too much of Christmas.
Some Christians are almost apologetic about enjoying Christmas, but they shouldn’t be afraid to enjoy this special celebration.
Christians were created for Christmas joy!
Yes, it’s easy to get caught up in the festivities, shopping for gifts, and all the activities that layer stresses and smiles into one jumble of emotions.
There’s no question all the holiday hoopla can be fun, but the Christian’s truest joy is found in Christ, not in Christmas. Joy is based on who Jesus is and what He has done.
Still . . .
I love the wonder of Christmas I see reflected in the faces of young children; but the wonder of Christmas is not just for children.
Adults must never forget the wonder and joy that came on Jesus’ birthday. It’s not something we should ever get used to.
Think of the spectacle of that first Christmas that brought such “great joy” (Luke 2:10, 18).
In God’s timing, the Christ-child—the promised and long-awaited Messiah—broke into history.
At Jesus’ birth, the Father remembered us with love and grace. Peter says Jesus came to rescue us and “bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). The joy of Christmas includes a message of reconciliation!
Consider how that miraculous night changed everything. God did not forget His people. God kept His promises.
What a wonder!
In a riches-to-rags story of love and sacrifice, Jesus came to be a servant, and to seek and save the lost” (Matthew 20:28; 1:21; Luke 19:10). Don’t water that down. Don’t get so used to the word “Savior” you forget what it means.
Without a Savior, we would have no reason for hope. We would fear judgment and fear the future.
“Do not be afraid,” the angel told the shepherds, “for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy….” (Luke 2:10). God knows fear can neutralize joy. And He never created us for fear.
When Jesus was born, God’s people felt deep fears about their future under the tyrant, King Herod. But God’s message to them through the angel was, “Don’t be afraid. Your Savior, your Messiah, has come!”
And the Father's message to us today is STILL:
"Don't be afraid. Let go of all your fears.
Give them to Me. Let Me give you My joy instead ... real joy ... joy in Christ!"
This babe who was born became our dying Savior, and is our risen Lord. God is our “exceeding joy” (Psalm 43:4). In Christ, we can shout with joy, joining in chorus with the heavenly host: “Glory to God in the highest!” (Luke 2:14).
We were created for this!
We were made—as the Westminster Shorter Catechism says (answer to question #1)—“to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
The wonder of Christmas is a special opportunity to express that joy.
The Word of God can teach us how to glorify and enjoy Him more and better. But so can our Christmas hymns.
“Shepherds, why this Jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be Which inspire your heavenly song?
Come to Bethlehem and see Him whose birth the angels sing;
Come adore on bended knee, Christ, the Lord, the newborn King.”
(“Angels, We Have Heard on High”)
The truth is, our Christmas celebrations are commemorations of joy that lead to adoration and worship.
What can you do during this holiday season to consider the word “Savior” and join the angel chorus for God’s good gift?
Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator of three blogs: Heart Choices Today, LOL with God (with Pam Farrel), and Upgrade with Dawn. She is a contracted researcher/reviewer for Revive Our Heartsand a writer at Crosswalk.com. She and her husband Bob live in Southern California and have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.
Graphic adapted, courtesy of Geralt, Pixabay