Summary: It’s time we reclaimed Christmas and that is what Christmas Conspiracy is all about.
Christmas Conspiracy/Reclaim Christmas Series
Celebrate Jesus/Matthew 2
Bruce B. Miller
Celebrate Jesus Matthew 2
Even though you may still be eating left-overs, Thanksgiving is over and it is Christmas time. We did not dare go shopping on black Friday? Who here braved the stores on Friday? Who went out the earliest? Anyone go shopping before seven in the morning? Six? Midnight?
Why do we do all this stuff? We’re in a church worship service, so of course you know the right answer: Jesus. You know the slogan: put Christ back into Christmas. At Christmas we celebrate Christ or at least that’s what we are supposed to be doing. But we all know that Christmas has been commercialized in a major way. This is when many retail businesses make the majority of their annual income. Americans spend over four billion dollars on gifts every year. As much as we know the right answer, we fall into the commercialization of Christmas.
There is cultural pressure to “de-Christify” Christmas. Merry Christmas has become Happy Holidays. Jesus makes people nervous. We are exploring telling people about Christ Fellowship though ads in movies theaters. We were told that their company policy is not to use the names of any deities so we could not use the name Jesus in our ad text. That ticked me off. Of course they can say nothing about the official name of our church so I am happy that we are Christ Fellowship. We are all about Jesus Christ.
It’s time we reclaimed Christmas. That’s what Christmas Conspiracy is all about. This four-week study is rooted in the desire to experience the true meaning of Christmas. How can we make Christmas more about him and less about us? This is the challenge of Christmas Conspiracy.
The Christmas season should be all about Jesus. A time when we put down our burdens and lift a song up to our God. A season where love wins, peace reigns and a king is celebrated. But that’s not always the way it happens, is it? It should be a time to celebrate the birth of a savior, but often turns into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists. We focus on parties, shopping and cultural traditions. And when it’s all over, many of us are left with this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas?
We are joining thousands of Christians in hundreds of Churches calling for a Christmas Conspiracy. Often the word “conspiracy” is used in a negative light, but we mean it in the positive sense of a group of Christ-followers willing to stand against the culture. Jesus calls us to be counter-cultural. Let’s conspire together at Christ Fellowship to resist the forces of consumer culture telling us to buy gifts on credit cards using money we don’t have to buy gifts that people don’t want. Let’s conspire together to resist the greed that drives buying. Let’s resist the advertisements enticing us to envy and covet, tempting us to believe we are not content without the latest version, the newest model. Let’s not make Christmas about us and what we will get.
Who is this whole Christmas season for again? I think it is a huge birthday party for someone. So who should get the gifts? And what kind of gifts does the guest of honor appreciate? The point of Christmas is to celebrate Jesus. We know that, but what is the reality in our lives? Over the Christmas season, are you really, seriously celebrating Jesus or are you just doing the culturally appropriate Christmas-things?
To help us diagnose our hearts and discover how to celebrate Jesus over Christmas, I invite you to test your heart on a scale with King Herod on one end and the Magi on the other end. In a minute I’ll explain more about these two people. You see for Herod Christmas was all about Herod. For the Magi Christmas was all about Jesus. The Magi were some of the first people who were part of the Christmas conspiracy. They refused to take part in Herod’s self-interest. They refused to buy into his lies.
The vastly different Christmas celebrations of Herod and the Magi form a fascinating study in contrast. Christmas is filled with contrasts: a time of great joy and seasonally a time of depression; a time of great giving and great greed; families laughing and fighting, opening the door for each other and slamming the door in each other’s faces; a time of drinking punch and a time of getting smashed. What kind of Christmas will you have?
As we look at the biblical story, I want you to consider your own life; will you have a more Herod-like Christmas or a more Magi-like Christmas? How could your Christmas be less Herod-like and more Magi-like?