The song serenades us, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” We’ve arrived to that joyful time that is so anticipated every year. It’s our time to spend with family and friends who are most dear to us. It’s our time to make memories that will last the rest of our lifetimes. What we didn’t do the rest of the year we now try to squeeze into these last 30 days or so.
Truthfully though, is it the most wonderful time of the year? Not should it be, but is it? Perhaps if you were to ponder your days following Thanksgiving, I speculate that most of us would have to disagree with that pleasant anthem.
What most of us are confronted with is an atmosphere that is characterized by stress, frustration, and busyness. We scramble from place to place, picking up just the right gift for that special person then over to the grocery store for that holiday ham. Along the way we find ourselves frustrated at the long lines, and dare I say, even angered that others are so inconsiderate of our desires at that very moment. It’s easy to become disgruntled and detest the yuletide spirits that Christmas is supposed to bring.
As we celebrate the birth of our savior, Christmas has become not only an unreflective time of year, but an unchristlike time of year. How insulting it must be to God when we squander the ideal opportunity to exalt the Son by exalting man instead. A time to reflect on the life of Christ has become a time unreflective of the life of Christ.
As we accuse the world of leaving Christ out of Christmas, us Christians are in danger of doing the same thing. Before we preach Christ to the world, maybe we need to preach Christ to ourselves. As you pause from that inundated to do list, reflect on the meaning of Christmas and consider “Have I forgotten to invite Christ to my Christmas celebration?”
While the world tries suppressing Christ from Christmas by impressing cultural creeds into it, we must do the opposite. We must inspire others by inclining our heart towards Him. And so, to ensure an intact heart absorbed by Christ, we preach the Gospel to ourselves. We must remind ourselves of the awesome work of God through Christ His Son remembering its significance.
The birth of our Savior is not the inauguration of God’s plan of salvation, but the continuation of it. From the beginning Christ was part of creation (Colossians 1:15-17) proclaimed to be savior to man for redemption from sin (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:26-38). Christ is the climax of God’s plan, the central facet to a divine work in which God has given us the privilege to benefit from.
Overwhelmed by the magnitude this, we stand with Mary to say, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord” (Luke 1:38). May we be like the shepherds, who having little information, sought to find Christ wrapped in swaddling cloths lying in a manger, just as the angel had said (Luke 2:8-20). Might our prayer be to be found worshiping Him this Christmas as the wise men did when they saw the child with Mary (Matthew 2:11-12).
When we place the gifts away from us and place Christ before us, we can rejoice that it is the most wonderful time of the year. Contemplate the wondrous message, consider the miraculous works, and capture the joyful season for what it is . . . a testimony to the glory of God that we are privileged to rejoice over.
Come back tomorrow as I define three specific ways to preach the gospel to yourself this Christmas.