It is a sad thing that a large portion of the population looks more forward to Dec. 26 than Dec. 25. People can wake up the morning of the 26th and think, “It’s finally over. This whole Christmas thing is over!”
Years ago, I took a stress test. Not the treadmill thing, but a written test to determine how much stress a person was experiencing. I received a list of things, and I was to mark any event that I had occurred within the last year. Any score under 100 meant I was leading a nonstressful life.
For example, divorce by itself was worth one hundred points. The lowest score anyone could receive on the test was ten because Christmas was on the list and worth ten points.
Imagine, the experts tell us, living through December is ten percent as stressful as the breakup of a family! No wonder many people reach the end of December exhausted, overwhelmed, and frazzled. Then with what seems like lightning speed comes next Christmas.
It is the Lord’s birthday we are celebrating; are we not? Should not this be a happy time of year? Maybe we bring this stress upon ourselves.
My wife’s job keeps her in contact with a large number of newborns and pre-school children. The other day we were shopping for young children’s books about the Christmas story. You know, Mary, Joseph, the Baby Jesus, no room in the inn, spending the night in a manger – that story. We went to two major retailers; we found none. We then went to a Christian book store; we found only two. Everywhere we went, there were a lot of Santa, snowmen, and reindeer.
Our Christmas emphasis has shifted from the Birthday Boy to gifts (Santa is the most prominent symbol of this).
I will not talk about Santa a whole lot, other than to say, when Santa comes up in conversation, the comment is, “What do you want Santa to bring you this Christmas?”
I once knew a family with five children. Every year the parents would ask the kids to turn in a Christmas list. The children knew mom and dad would always get them something off the list.
One Christmas, one of the children gave the parents a list with only one item costing several hundred dollars.
The parents spent around $40 on each of the other four, but spent nearly $300 on the “list-of-one child.”
One child learned that Christmas was all about her and what she wanted. This selfish attitude soon grew to the other children. The following Christmas, mom, and dad received five one item lists.
With the current climate of selfishness, is it any wonder the Babe in the manger is no longer the main symbol of Christmas?
What is the true meaning of Christmas?
God came to earth to sacrifice Himself because He wants to spend eternity with us.
How does this work?
God is holy (Leviticus 11:44-45; about 100 Biblical passages proclaim God’s holiness).
All of humanity are sinners (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:23).
Our sins have separated us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2).
A blood sacrifice is the only way to wash the sins away and reunite us with God (Hebrews 9:22).
The blood of Jesus Christ, because it was unblemished by sin, is the only acceptable sacrifice to God. His blood pays the price for our sin (1 Peter 1:18-19; Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).
The purchase price, the blood of Jesus, is applied when we trust that it is His blood that removes our sin and unites us with God (John 14:6, Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:25).
The Christmas story only a part of the story of how God brought salvation to humanity.
When I was a child, my parents never had us write a wish list. There was always some clothes under the tree, and a few toys. As I got older, the toys turned into things like a watch or a calculator (to my younger readers, back in the 70s, a calculator was a big thing, and I loved math).
Without ever making a list we never received anything for Christmas we did not like, and few, if any gifts stayed sitting in the closet because of lack of use. Mom and dad knew us well enough to understand what we would use, enjoy, and needed.
God knows us better than anyone else. He knew what we needed — we needed a sacrifice for our sins. He sent us His Son for Christmas.