Here are four signs that you may be missing the most important thing about Christmas, the true meaning of Christmas.
Things Over People
I hate Black Friday. In fact, I call it “black and blue Friday” because every year someone is always hurt and frequently someone is killed–and just for things! Wow. Possessions over people is a brutal mentality to have. When things get broken around our house, we say, “Oh well. That’s okay. Things can be replaced. Broken things can be fixed. People’s feelings are not so easy to fix. People are more important than things.” When we put things over people, then we are truly missing one of the richest things about this season: family and particularly that we are part of God’s family because Christ died so that we could have a relationship with God.
Christ is the Reason for the Season
Truly, we don’t know the date of Jesus’ birthday, but I don’t believe it matters. As long as Christ is the central focus of Christmas, we are not going to miss the true meaning. We need to put the “Christ” at the beginning of Christmas, just as it is in the word Christmas. He is the central focus of history. The Bible is called the “Him” book because it’s all about Him. He is the Person we celebrate. I believe that Santa Clause has dominated Christmas far too long. Make Jesus the Christmas focus. Some false religions teach that man can become God, but true Christianity is that God became Man–God in the flesh came as Immanuel, God with us. He became Man so that we could be with God.
Religious Ritual or Relationship?
If we only focus on the trappings of the traditions of the season, we lose the real purpose of this holiday. You can use the gifts for the children as a teachable moment about why the wise men brought gifts to Jesus. It was because He was born to be the King of kings and Lord of lords. I highly recommend biblical stories being read during these times, like the nativity story from the Bible on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day, as recorded in Luke 2:4-19. Reflect on the reason that He came into the world to save sinners from the wrath of God and to end the separation from God that our sins had created. These truths shouldn’t be heard only during Christmas but all year long, as it says in Deuteronomy 11:19, “You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
The Decorations Missed Meanings
Frequently, we just hurry to put up the tree, the lights, and the decorations without even mentioning the symbolic meaning of these trimmings. For example the star represents the star that pointed to where King Jesus would be, sometimes called the star of Bethlehem. The first color of Christmas was red, symbolic of Jesus’ shed blood. The wreath pictures the never-ending eternal love, the unbroken circle of God’s love for us. On a candy cane, the red stripes (by His stripes we were healed) represent His blood, the white His righteousness, and the J-shape both Jesus’ name and the shepherd’s crook. These are hardly ever mentioned. So teach these to your children or you’re missing the true meaning of Christmas.
If it’s all about getting the shopping done, rushing here and there to get everything that’s needed, getting all the cooking done, sending out Christmas cards to everyone you know, getting all the decorations and the tree set up, and putting tradition over the story of the Babe in the manger, then you are missing the true meaning of Christmas. Christ is the reason for the season. Don’t miss that!
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
Image Source: CC-BY Alosh Bennett
Modifications: overlay, text added