I’m not one to begin the Christmas festivities too early. I like Thanksgiving to be focused on, well, thanksgiving – and not on how many days we have until Christmas or who has their lights up already. I even have a personal December 1st rule for listening to Christmas music. (Love the anticipation!)
But I was struck by a memory of the biblical Christmas story recently that got me thinking a little earlier about our whole approach to what’s become the biggest holiday.
“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him’” (Matthew 2:2).
The magi’s first response to Jesus’ birth was that they needed to go worship Him. And they probably traveled months to offer Him the best of what they had.
Is anyone else convicted by that? Our first response seems to be shopping and decorating. At least, that’s where our physical and emotional energy appears to be focused.
God’s help for an undeserved sinful world (you and me) was to send His Son to become flesh.
“[Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” Colossians 1:15.
And our response to that incomprehensible move is to throw parties, eat cookies, and watch mostly silly movies.
Yes, we all have our Christmas programs and services we go to. But we need to stop and take the time to be awestruck by the fact the invisible God – out of His infinite love for us – bothered to leave His perfect heaven to walk on this earth among sinful man. And we need to let that overwhelm our souls and infiltrate our Christmas.
Think about it – we don’t really know what these wisemen understood or thought about this newborn “King of the Jews.” One thing’s for sure: they didn’t know what we know. Not by a long shot.
We’ve read the reports and seen the prophecies fulfilled. So we know sweet baby Jesus actually came here to save us. And He came so people – from Mary Magdalene to Saul/Paul to you and me – might come to understand who He is and worship Him. (In other words, we are without excuse.)
“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all” (Paul – 1 Timothy 1:15).
“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).
Without Easter, Christmas doesn’t matter. It’s just another holiday.
It’s just a lot more fun to talk about a baby than our sin that brought His ultimate death. (Thanks be to God, that’s not the end of the story!)
I’m not saying it’s not ok to enjoy the cultural things of Christmas (that are healthy). We each have our own favorites.
But we need to break any of their hold on our hearts that prevents worship from being our first response to the celebration of the birth of our Savior.
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Let’s ask God to help us see and respond to Jesus’ “glory” – all He is and all He’s done – this Christmas season. If He really is what Christmas is all about (like we say), let’s be diligent to “come to worship Him.” Let’s go to whatever lengths it takes to offer Him our best. Just like the magi all those years ago.
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17)!
Enjoy this beautiful song by Lauren Daigle – Noel.
SHARE and LIKE buttons: