Summary: So often Christmas is a let down instead of full of joy - could it be because our focus is on us not Him?
There is a story told of a young lad who wrote a more unusual letter to Santa, not asking for this toy or that one but saying: ‘you didn’t bring me anything good last year or the year before. This is your last chance’!
You know a bit like that boy we all know that often Christmas often can be a let down. As a nation we spend too much, eat too much, drink too much. Often people say how the meal was disappointing, the turkey too dry, the sprouts are too soft.
We end up getting fed up by the rubbish that’s on TV & the family members we do our best to avoid every other time of year. The presents we spent so much on get discarded because the children prefer the cardboard boxes. We hear that the Samaritans is busier at Christmas than any other time & that marriages are under tremendous stress as people are forced to spend extended time with one another.
All in all often Christmas can be a let down, a disappointment can’t it.
It is such a shame that the event that gave rise to the celebration – the event the angels said was a source of good news & great joy for all creation – is so lacking in joy in this generation.
Yet Christmas doesn’t have to be about disappointment, it can be about joy, so long as our focus is in the right direction. You see Christmas isn’t really about having lots of money to buy the biggest best present. Christmas is about a Saviour, God with us, & if our focus is on Him then we can know real joy not just at Christmas but in each & every situation.
The problem is that our focus at Christmas time is often not on Jesus & the hope & joy He can bring to our hearts. Instead we get to think its all about us; our family, our friends, our presents. We focus on getting the celebration all just right & miss the reason for the celebration.
Will we or did we spend a quiet time on Christmas Day with the Lord?
Did we give away some of our time & money this year to those less fortunate?
Could we have done more to share our faith in the living God during this season?
I’m not trying to make you or me feel guilty – but I do think the Holy Spirit is trying to remind us that Christmas is about Him not us. It is about God’s people being good news people.
It is vital that our focus on Jesus moves from the helpless baby in the manger to Jesus the King of kings & Lord or lords; the Creator & sustainer of heaven & earth; our healer, Saviour & friend. It is something that needs to not just occupy a passing thought in front of the TV but move down into our hearts. If it remains just head knowledge then the joy of Christmas will never be ours, because the hope, the joy, the peace we are talking about is not available on the shop shelf or under the Christmas tree – it only comes our way when we enter into a living relationship with Jesus.
Christmas is the best time to receive Jesus into our hearts, & if you have not done that then an opportunity is yours again to invite Jesus in.
However this is not all about us – the gospel demands that we look outward not just inward. Once we are in relationship with God we have to realise the best present we can give to others at Christmas time, at every time is the gospel to share.
Far too often we seem to think it is ok to just have social Church when we are called to be witnesses in the entire world.
Once we actually do this, share our faith & our time with others, we will experience a remarkable by-product as we are blessed by even more joy as see others grow in the faith.
There are wondrous opportunities that God will present to us in the coming days, weeks & months to be good news people by sharing our wealth, time & testimony with those in need. There are plenty of lonely, needy people, & the Holy Spirit will show them to us if we are willing to look for them. The remarkable by-product of course here is that they & we will be blessed by even more joy. Christmas joy instead of disappointment can be ours every day if we are willing to allow the Spirit to lead & direct us.
But please don’t miss the main thing – we can’t run before we can walk, & we can’t get the joyful blessings of sharing faith & being good news people if that gospel hasn’t come to our hearts first.