Christmas is fun for all, when gifts are given just because you're in the family. TV stations air some of the best Christmas movies made. Hot chocolate is always a rich ingredient to a cold, wintry night. Getting together with people we haven't seen in a long, long time is always a perk to the holiday, and maybe getting resolved some of those bumps and bruises with a family member isn't such a bad idea to do on such a happy day. People love Christmas. It's pretty hard not to when Christmas has such a joyous connotation to it. But wait. What is the reason for that connotation again?
I woke up this morning, knew that it was Christmas, and thanked God for it. But I didn't automatically thank God for Jesus' birth, but rather for the day itself, and its "joyous connotation." Being a Christian, I should know better. I mean, if the majority of America is "Christian," the majority of America should have woken up with Jesus' birth on their mind and thanks on their lips for that very reason. And though I can't say for sure that that's not what happened, I've got a hunch that . . . that's not what happened.
See, in this day and age, seeing Jesus is progressively getting harder and harder each year. New electronic gadgets are coming out every few weeks it seems like. People want the newest of the new, the best of the best. Jesus isn't new. And I can certainly run my life pretty well on my own. Why's he gotta run it?
Jesus doesn't have to. He wants to, for your sake. He knows that without him, you will ultimately see TWO deaths the body and the soul. He knows that you will spend an eternity away from him, and knowing that, he freely came to earth with the sole purpose of reconciling the world back to God. Only by accepting the fact that Jesus is the Son of God, and believing that he died for our sins on that cross, and then giving up our sins to him, thus accepting him into our hearts to be our Lord and Savior, can we be children of the light. The darkness subtly rules this world. We don't see it for what it is if we're blind to God's light. Listen, only the man who sees God's glory can reflect that glory in how he lives. And only in living so can one see that he truly doesn't belong to this world, because light and darkness cannot coexist.
Jesus was full of light no darkness in him. Living on this earth, it was clear that he did not belong. He was different. He was strange. He was perfect. Everything he did was for a purpose. Even when it looked like he was doing wrong by hanging out with some of the worst sinners, I bet Jesus was full of joy and gratitude because here was an opportunity to show them a love like they've never seen, and be to them the image of the God that they needed more than anything. See, Jesus had motives for everything he did the purest motives this dark world will ever know.
When Jesus came as a baby, he came willingly into this dark world. Jesus knew that he'd be rejected and spit upon as a result of our self-absorbed hearts, but he came anyway, and he was going to fight for us anyway, because he loved us too much not to do anything. More than anything, I would say that the best thought baby Jesus' image should conjure up is this: Jesus was powerful enough to concur this dark world, confident enough to try, and loved people all people way too much to win our hearts any other way.
Christmas in a dark world is never going to be what it should be, but there are specks of light here still, and that's every Christian living under the knowledge that they are loved by God, love God, and living according to his purposes for them. If we remember the truest meaning behind Christmas and live it out accordingly, Jesus will be exalted no matter how many kids are opening presents this holiday and don't think once about Jesus, or how many adults miss the concept because they're too busy buying stuff or holding grudges against a hated family member, or how many suicidal people are contemplating taking their lives because they've got no one to be with this day. Jesus will be exalted if those who have welcomed him are living the message: Jesus Christ came as a baby to give us the greatest present of all an eternity with a God who is madly in love with people.