Summary: A devotional about re-capturing the real "Spirit of Christmas."
Capturing the ’Spirit of Christmas’
Rev. Todd G. Leupold, Perth Bible Church, Wed. 12/3/2008
This is the time of the year in which we hear endlessly about ’the Spirit of Christmas.” Everyone, from believers to unbelievers, the devout and the rebellious, the faithful and the faithless, they who praise the name of Jesus and those who use it to curse, do not hesitate to tell anyone and everyone they can what they believe is the REAL “Spirit of Christmas.”
To this end, we are bombarded day-in and day-out with various and divergent insistences of what Christmas is all about, how we should celebrate it and with what kind of a ’spirit’ we should be filled.
What are we to believe? How are we to react or respond? How can we ensure that this season is truly a season of joy and renewed hope? How can we reasonably recognize who truly has the ’Christmas Spirit’ and who does not? What is this ’peace and goodwill’?
How can we be certain that we, who proclaim the name and glory of Christ, are truly capturing and living the “Spirit of Christmas” during this holy season?
FINDING IT AMIDST THE WRAPPINGS
As you go about this Christmas season, take some time to careful examine your surroundings. What do you most often see? Shiny tinsel. Colored lights. Reindeer. Fat old men in red suits. Advertisements. Pretty wrappings and decorations. Gaudy wrappings and decorations. Appeals to be nice to one another. “Happy Holidays.” People stressed, impatient and always in a hurry. Crowds and long lines at the stores and restaurants. Party invitations. What do you hear? Honking. Pleas for your business and commerce. Haggling and arguing over purchases and parking spots. Increased security. Loud parties. Music about snow, romance and frivolity. Requests for donations. Groaning and complaining.
As you go about, ask the people around you what Christmas and the “Spirit of Christmas” means to them? What do they say?
What if we radically changed how, as a country and society, we approach Christmas? What if during the Christmas season we no longer had any parties, bonuses, special decorations, special music, the ’spirits’ that only come in a bottle, the TV specials, movies and even the gifts? What would be left? IF we took the elements and forms of celebration out of Christmas what would be left? Would there still be joy apart from these things? For who? How many?
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE BEGINNING OF CHRISTMAS?
How did people react to this event and what ’spirit’ did they demonstrate at the First Christmas?
Mary: Lk. 2:7
- Her first response was gentle, silent TLC poured out on the Christ Child.
The Shepherds: Lk. 2:8-20
First, they feared what was unknown and yet so awe-inspiring.
Second, they listened to understand it’s significance.
Third, they immediately went into motion to personally experience this great and glorious event!
Fourth, they told everyone they could about the real meaning and significance of what had just happened and what would yet be because of it.
Fifth, they returned to the drudgery and poverty of their field and responsibilities with great hope and rejoicing!
Simeon: Lk. 2:25-35
He took the Christ Child into his very own hands, proclaimed His majesty and reverently gave praise.
Anna: Lk. 2:36-38
Unabated focus on the promise of redemption.
Went on with their own pre-determined celebrations of family reunions without regard or even acknowledgment of Christ.
Politely heard the reports of others about a greater meaning and significance, then quickly put it aside and went back to their own defined celebrations.
Herod: Mt. 2:1-8, 16-18
Determination to kill any and all aspects of Christmas that might threaten his own sense of glory, privilege, power, or wealth.
The Magi/Wise Men: Mt. 2:1-12
Immediately sought out Jesus in order to give unto and worship Him.
Would not allow others, even the king, to distract them from this.
WHAT WE LEARN:
1.)There are a variety of appropriate responses, even among believers. All of which we can learn from.
2.)Many celebrate, but few truly understand.
3.)The one, universal commonality amongst believers is a focus on Christ and what He provides.
4.)The one, universal commonality amongst non-believers is the desire to lesson, ignore or even get rid of Christ.
5.)The real ’Spirit of Christmas’ is the joy and peace that comes only from knowing that the promises and realities centered on the person and works of Christs as recorded in Scripture and that cannot be changed or taken away by anyone or anything!