Summary: Christmas began in the heart of God, and finds it’s completion in the heart of man.
WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT
How are you all doing? Myself, this time of the year kind of wears me out! This week I got to thinking about what Christmas has become for most of us, and just thinking about it makes me tired!
Ask any mother and she’ll tell you that at this time of year, her workload triples. First off, she’s baking like crazy – Christmas cookies for the neighbors, the Christmas cookie exchange party, her workplace, and the church social. She’s got to attend all of those parties, plus get the kids to rehearsals for school programs, church programs, and dance recitals – and attend all those events. Then there are the gift-management details -- the shopping for, wrapping up, and mailing of gifts. All the while managing the children, directing the husband, and putting good clothes on the table and clean food in the closet! – or something like that!
Children live in a dreamlike state of anticipation. School or chores really don’t mean much to them around Christmas time. What they are really thinking about is what they want for Christmas. They do have to do some shopping of their own, getting gifts for Mom and Dad, and brothers and sisters. But, truth be told, they are day-dreaming about presents – lots of them, big ones, expensive ones!
Dads? – Dads get to pay for all this foolishness. We go shopping in spite of ourselves. In fact there are all sorts of things we put up with now, that we don’t put up with at any other time of the year: Crowds, Shopping Malls, traffic, Christmas lights, sappy trees inside the house, equally sappy sentimental music – day, noon, night. Some of us go so far as to even watch figure-skating on TV – not because we really want to, but, hey it’s Christmas and that’s what the wife wants to watch.
I wonder what God thinks of all of this commotion? What is Christmas all about -- really? There is a passage in Scripture in which an angel from God talks to Joseph and gives heaven’s perspective on the matter:
“An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’" Matthew 1:20-21
There are some principles we can get out of these verses if we pause to think about it:
1. Christmas is a “God thing.” It was his idea. He planned the whole thing out himself. Looking at our culture one might think that Christmas was a joint marketing ploy perpetrated upon the public by the manufacturing industry and the retailers. One day some perfume people got together with the electric razor people and voila – Christmas! But, no, Christmas actually began in the heart of God.
He looked down and saw that no matter how clearly he tried to spell things out, telling us right from wrong, (what would bring blessing to our lives and what would bring hardship), we still choose to do the wrong things sometimes. I mean from the very beginning, us humans have been tempted to do life all wrong.
Take the Garden of Eden for instance. In the garden, there were thousands upon thousands of fruit trees with good fruit on them that Adam and Eve could have eaten from to their hearts content. But no, that one tree – only one, mind you, that God had said was off limits – they just had to eat from that one!
It isn’t a matter of us lacking information. We all know that eating too many fats and sweets are bad for us, and that eating rabbit food is good for us. But, it is the season – so we follow our appetites and not our reason!
All of this matter of knowing what to do, and not doing it, or knowing what not to do, and doing it anyway – the Bible calls that sin. And hey, I don’t even live up to my own standards for myself, never-the-less God’s standards for my life.
All of this causes a sort of a problem, and not just sort of a problem – a rather really big problem. My sins, my failings, my shortcomings end up keeping me out of the running for the grand prize of the universe – heaven, eternal life, paradise! I just don’t cut the mustard.
As I said before, God looked down and saw this about me, and about you and about every other human being who has ever lived. So …