Summary: Highlighting the differences you will find when Christmas is about Christ and when it isn't.
WHEN CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT CHRIST
1) When Christmas is not about Christ it’s…
When Christmas is not about Christ the focus is on my long wish list. The focus is obsessing about what I will get for Christmas. It better be what I want or there’s going to be trouble. And if the other person gets us a lame gift we develop and harbor bitterness towards them. If you don’t spend “X” amount on a gift then you don’t care about me. When Christmas is not about Christ we become more greedy and expectant.
When Christmas is materialistic I’m focused on having the better looking decorations and outdoing the neighbors. My lawn will be littered with plastic Santas and everything will be covered in lights. I become Clark Griswold.
Speaking of Mr. Griswold do you remember in Christmas vacation how Clark reacted when he realized he wasn’t getting the Christmas bonus he was depending on? The magical spirit of Christmas went right out the door and it was replaced with rage and expletives. That’s the kind of thing that happens when Christmas is not about Christ.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to decorate or buy gifts but when Christmas is not about Christ I will be too heavily focused on these things. And what will be the result? I’ll be deeper in debt, my electric bill goes up and I’ll miss the real reason for the season.
The hustle and bustle. Running around trying to get everything taken care of. Getting a black eye on black Friday fighting all the other shoppers to get to the items before they’re all gone. You’ve seen the footage where people are pressed against the door and then the store opens and all hell breaks loose. Pushing and shoving; even people getting trampled. It’s madness.
Then you have all the other stuff-decorations, parties, family photos, Christmas cards, food preparations, traveling. So it’s not just Christmas shopping that’s chaotic it’s everything else too.
All of these things can be enjoyable-when Christ is at the center of Christmas. But when he’s not all of these things cease to be enjoyable and instead become hectic and problematic. All of this chaos will cause us to become drained, miserable and frustrated. I won’t feel like singing, “joy to the world” when there’s no joy in my world.
This is what happens when I get consumed with all the hustle and bustle; when I get wrapped up in the Christmas chaos. This is what happens when Christmas is not about Christ.
You know how it is-you spend all that time shopping, searching for the perfect gifts and then you take the time to carefully wrap each one with pretty paper and extravagant bows. Then you strategically arrange all the presents under the ornately decorated tree. Then Christmas day comes and it’s all over in a matter of minutes. Everyone rips and tears through the paper, looks at the gift for a couple of minutes and then moves onto the next one. Then, when the dust settles you look around and see all the mounds of paper and bows and boxes and you breathe a heavy sigh as you think about the mess to clean up.
Then you move into the kitchen where you spend all that time slaving away cooking and preparing. You set everything on the table just so. It looks great-a picturesque holiday meal. Then everyone tears into the food like piranhas and it’s over in a matter of minutes. And you breathe a heavy sigh as you look around at all the dirty dishes and your pristine table cloth smeared with splotches of squash and splatters of gravy.
When Christmas is over the thrill is gone. You take down the decorations with much less enthusiasm than when they went up. Your mouth doesn’t water at the site of leftovers the way it did when you dug in the first time. After a little while even the presents lose their alluring qualities.
The excitement is temporary. The thrill is short-lived. When Jesus is not part of Christmas all you have is a temporary pleasure that is soon replaced with life as it was. The Christmas spirit is gone, replaced with the same old same old; blah and humdrum life.
2) When Christmas is about Christ it’s…
When Christmas is about Christ the holiday takes on a whole different meaning. It’s not about Santa or parties or presents; it’s about Jesus. You can still have all the decorations, the presents and the traditions but the main focus won’t be on these. These will be enjoyable but they won’t be the source of your joy. You don’t just have the Christmas spirit you have the Holy Spirit.
When Christmas is about Christ you don’t just sing the carols you believe the carols; you’ve experienced the carols. You are truly celebrating the night of our dear Savior’s birth. It’s not about ‘here comes Santa Claus’, it’s about ‘here comes Jesus Christ’.