Sunday, December 23, 2012

From the Heart: Why I Love Christmas

Dear Reader,

There are few things that seem worth posting about these days. And, in light of the personal knowledge of my own sinful heart, I often find it hard to post at all.  But, in light of the world's idea of what Christmas is, and even in light of Christian arguments against Christmas, it seemed worth mentioning.

The world looks at this time of year as a time that all people come together and, for one small segment of an otherwise dreary year, everyone unites. Kids are brought to a jolly, jiggly man to explain to him everything their hearts desire. Presents and other wants have monopolized the season. Christmas music is sang; interestingly, even agnostics find themselves singing, "Joy to the World."  But, there are a few reasons why I love Christmas, and most of them have nothing to do with the above points.

Yes, I love the lights and the snow. Being from Texas, the change of season is actually enjoyable. I love getting hot chocolate and watching people mill around, most of them procrastinators of the Christmas season. I love the time of family getting together and opening gifts.  The church programs can also be fun.  But, those are not the things I love the most.

Here is why I will celebrate Christmas as a Christian, even if others choose to call it a pagan holiday (even if it started that way).  I will celebrate Christmas because, to me, it has absolutely nothing to do with Santa Claus.  It is about the Christ child; but, it goes beyond that.

The Christmas story in one in which Immanuel was born into the world--God with us. He lived the perfect life that we never could. He was not fat, jolly and materialistic; au contraire, He was, in fact, "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him" (Isaiah 53:3b). And, no matter how bad I've been, my Savior still gives me good gifts and calls me His own. He may make a list and check it twice, but for those who have believed on Christ and follow Him, He removes their sin as far as the East is from the West, and He does not hold it against them. And, with my Lord, it's not that I sit on His lap and tell Him all the things I want; rather, I find myself humbly bowing before His throne, and there I find all that I need.

That is what I love about Christmas. That child lived a short but very perfect life. His death meant something that mine never could (it is why His Father does not hold my "naughty list" against me). His resurrection from the dead was a feat of victory I could never have accomplished. He is kind and full of joy. But, His "ho ho ho" is not directed at bratty children who have no desire to serve but only want; His joy is for those children who come to Him in humble devotion, desiring to be rid of all their vileness as they cast themselves at the Savior's feet. His gifts are many, but they are built upon the one gift of the cross, and that gift wasn't tied with a pretty bow. He does not wear a big, red, fluffy coat; rather, this Son wore the red blood that painted His body as He died for our sins. He does not fly through the air with reindeer; He flew once to the Father's right hand, having accomplished salvation. He doesn't need to give us more and more big gifts; the gift of His Son was sufficient for all time, for all people, and for every joy. Moreover, His peace is not one where all people empty themselves of conviction and hold hands; His peace is one that demands unity in the one true way of salvation, Jesus Christ (John 14:6). And, prior to the final, eschatalogical, celebration dinner prepared in light of this Christmas salvation, He will judge and destroy those who do not bow the knee.

I have been naughty; I have been vile; I have done things I'm afraid to think about; I have accomplished little in life; I have done much wickedness and often hate what I've become.

But, He is my example. I dare not bow at the feet of a jovial, materialistic picture of Christmas. My example has been set.  And, though I am utterly incapable of following it perfectly, it's okay, because Jesus is not only the Christ child Who was, He is also my Savior.

That is why I can say, "Merry Christmas!"  That is why I love Christmas. If told correctly, it surpasses Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and any other fiction with a true story about the amazing grace of God, revealed to us in Christ Jesus, and relevant for every age.

~Merry Christmas~