Over the last couple of weeks, I have watched Christmas movies and done some Christmas shopping and decorating. I have to say, I hadn’t realized just how far society had moved from understanding the meaning of Christmas. I was aware, but the last couple of weeks have really brought to light just how far Jesus has been removed from the season.
We are all aware of how Christmas has become about celebrating winter and the beauty of snow. It is become about the magic of white Christmases, snowman that come to life, and romantic love. Even when we look at the traditionally Christian themes, we see commercialization. Santa Claus has gone from being a saint who reflects Jesus to us, to one who just spreads this magical joy of the winter season.
I know I’m not saying anything new, and I’m not complaining about the beauty behind some of the songs, movies, and themes. At the same time, I have found myself seeking ways to bring back the joy of the season, and here is a glimpse at what I found.
The reason for the season is that God became man. I think it is easy for people who have been Christian for their entire lives to forget what this means. By this I mean that it has become a fact. It is no longer a mystery that brings a sense of awe and amazement. If it has become a fact, it is easy for it to be something we take for granted, even if we make Jesus the reason for the season.
In order to fully appreciate the meaning of Christmas, we must spend time pondering the fact that the creator became a part of his creation. He became one of us. He emptied himself, and took on the form of man. Philippians 2:7. Not only did he take on humanity, but he who had the power to become the greatest of us in wealth and power, came in the form of a powerless baby. He came to us as one of the poorest of the poor. He came to us as the almighty and all-powerful God, but he didn’t lord it over us. He came even though he knew we would reject him. He came even though he knew how we would treat him. He came to teach us how to live in the fullest sense. He came that we might have life. He came to correct all that is wrong in our life, and show us the way to life eternal life with him. How amazing is this?
As you ponder these things, I invite you to challenge yourself. Are you using just your brain? Because if you want to experience what I’m talking about, you must imitate Mary who pondered the things she kept in her heart. Don’t just use your brain. Bring your heart into the matter. In doing so, you should experience a sense of joy that goes beyond earthly joy. You will experience the true joy of Christmas, a God who came to earth, and after living, dying and rising, took up residence in the hearts of all who believe.
Spend some time with the Holy Spirit pondering the reason for the season, the incarnation. This mystery should fill your heart with a supernatural joy. Does it? Has our culture hardened your heart against supernatural joy? If it has, ask the Holy Spirit to replace your stoney heart with a new one. If you are able to experience the joy, spend as much time as you can rejoicing in the mystery of Christmas. Let your heart and soul be filled with amazement. Spend some time creating a plan for a better incorporating this mystery into the remaining holiday season, and try to find ways to share this supernatural joy with others.