Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Holiday of Promise

We are a week away from Christmas. As a Christian Christmas is both a wonderful and dreadful experience. It is wonderful because of the reality behind the celebration. It is dreadful because of the pressure to buy gifts, not because we want to, but because it is expected. Too often, as it has been said time and time again, the wonderful part of Christmas is overlooked and consumed by the dreadful part of Christmas.

This is the reality of the culture that we live in, but it doesn’t have to be true for us. You and I can reclaim Christmas for our families. We can celebrate the holiday and remember what makes this holiday so very special to us.

We are forgetful creatures. Human beings have always had a, “What have you done for me lately?” mentality. This comes across loud in clear in the Old Testament. God shows up and Israel is happy, but time passes and Israel forgets and goes her own way. To help Israel remember God gave Israel holidays, rituals, and commandments, but these things only work if people use them and Israel rarely kept these gifts from God.

Christmas is not a holiday that God has given to us as Christians. There is not one verse in the Bible which asks us to celebrate the birth of Jesus. The one tradition God gave us to remember Jesus is communion, and that is why I believe it should have a central part in our weekly worship services. I am not saying that Christmas is unimportant, just that it isn’t commanded by God for us to celebrate, we can be Christians and not celebrate Christmas. I mention this because I want to give you permission to drop some traditions or obligations that are associated with Christmas which distract us for remembering and celebrating. Give few gifts, go to few parties, and skip a Christmas program (grasp) at church.

The value of Christmas is found in taking time to remember what it is all about. What is special about Jesus? Why should we remember his birth and life? We are prone to forget if we don’t set time aside regularly to remember the promise God made and how Jesus fulfilled that awesome promise.

The reason I have come to love Christmas is because Christmas is an opportunity to celebrate the God who keeps promises. Christmas reminds us that God is working through history to restore His creation to the way it ought to be. Christmas reminds us that God is willing to do whatever it takes for us to have life. Christmas reminds us that God is not some distant being out there somewhere not caring about us, but that He became one of us in order to save us from certain death.

This Christmas I hope you take the time to remember and celebrate God for being a promise keeper. Here are a couple of suggestions:

Have family communion at Christmas dinner

Communion is the Christian ritual of remembrance. What better time to remember the purpose of Jesus and our commitment to Him than at Christmas? I think this could be a very special time for you and your family, a time that everyone takes their focus away from the gifts and food and focuses on Jesus.

Read John 1:1-18 and pray before opening presents

Especially if you have children. They will be eager to rip off the paper and see what they have received. This is a great time to help them remember that Christmas isn’t about them, but it is about Jesus and how He fulfilled God’s ancient promise to bless all the nations of the earth.

Christmas shouldn’t be a holiday about gift giving, but a holiday of celebration. We should be celebrating the God who has kept His promise to save us and give us life. Jesus is the promise we celebrate at Christmas.

  • Point to Ponder: Christmas is an opportunity to celebrate the God who keeps promises.
  • Passage to Remember: John 1:14
  • Question to Consider: How will you remember Jesus this Christmas?

No comments:

Accept the Differences

Most of us understand that people are different and those differences are a good thing. The world would be a boring place if everyone beli...