Summary: When you are looking for gifts this season be sure that Jesus is on the top of the list for the best gift.
As is my custom, I am sitting here two days into the twelve days of Christmas thinking about something other than a traditional or customary Christmas message. I must confess that I am a major humbug. Bible College did Christmas in for me. After studying the origins of the holiday and all its peripheral paraphernalia the so-called holy day/holiday was shot in the head and needed to be buried as I see it. Add to it the crass commercialism, higher rates of suicide and sorrow for the lonely and/or poor and I frankly don’t get the enthusiasm that Christians have for these days. Maybe they all need to go to Bible College if it is a good one.
Frankly, Christmas is weird because it is the only birthday celebration where the person with the birthday sort of gets a nod of acknowledgement and usually no gifts. Imagine if on your birthday a big party with thousands of attendees was thrown in your honor. However, when you got to the place where it was to be held they shuffled you over to a chair behind a support beam and left you there. People come and go and give each other presents, hugs and kisses but they seldom even look your way. In fact, if you try to get up or say anything the host gruffly puts you back in your seat and tells you to be quiet. They sing songs about you and maybe even say some things about you but they never say anything to you. Finally, after everyone has left stuffed from food and drink, when you didn’t even get a hors d’oeuvre and a glass of water, the host comes over to escort you through the mess to the door. He practically pushes you out the door without a handshake and then as an afterthought wishes you a happy birthday as he slams the door. Yippee! That’s the kind of birthday I want and yet that is pretty much what Jesus gets and even worse Jesus has to share His celebration with some old fat dude in a red suit that gets more attention then He does though the fat dude is faking some of the powers that Jesus has for real. Talk about adding insult to injury! If it was you it is a good wager that you would be furious and cause a bit of a scene. Fortunately, Jesus doesn’t throw meteors or something at us for the folly we do.
I am firmly convinced that true Christians need to abandon this day that is really unholy. Almost the only thing we do that is biblical is read Luke 2. After that, it goes haywire. We weren’t told to celebrate His birth. We were told to remember His death and we have even botched that celebration but we’ll wait until that time to deal with it. As glorious as the miracles were pertaining to His birth they were only done to prove His deity, His worthiness and ability to be the matchless Lamb of God sacrificed on our behalf. He could have done all that we are told about His birth and the miracles of His ministry and then ascended into Heaven without the Cross and we would all still be in our sins. Yet, we have a bigger blowout for the birth than we do for remembering His sacrifice and through it all we are usually greedy and unthankful for what we give lip service as being the reason for the season.
If we must or desire to celebrate His birth then let’s institute Incarnation Day or Nativity and make it a real birthday celebration for the King. Let’s spend the day in prayer, praise, worship and service. Let’s get the season in the right timeframe as well and separated from the winter solstice. Let’s not just give money for the poor. Let’s go find a poor person or family and seek to meet their needs and not just for a day. The wise men brought him gifts on one day two years after his birth (take them out of your crèche) but what they brought sustained the family for their round-trip to Egypt and their stay there and maybe even until they got established in Nazareth. It met their needs.
If we took all the money that one congregation spent on gifts that would be soon broken, stored and forgotten or being disliked returned or given away we might get them off of welfare or even some education. Man, that sure beats one big meal a year and maybe two if we provide a Thanksgiving meal. Just send a card to the one you love saying that $100 was donated to the Incarnation Day fund in their name. You’ll find out how spiritual they are real quick by the response.