More and more I am becoming troubled with the way we celebrate Christmas, because it -seems like a glorified excuse for indulgence rather than a HOLY-day.
“We participate in the holiday hustle and bustle of shopping, parties, etc. while raging against the system. Our priorities are all tangled up just like our tree lights when we get them out each year, no matter how hard we try to keep them neat and orderly. So we close our eyes and try to focus on the reason for the season, but when we open them the world keeps getting in our face” ~ Pastor John Beehler
C. S. Lewis hit the nail on the head when he said, "We really celebrate two holidays on December 25th. One we call ’Xmas’ & the other we call ’Christmas.’"
How true! Perhaps we should separate them and see the real difference, because most people today celebrate Xmas, few truly celebrate Christmas.
XMAS offers frivolous gifts – CHRISTMAS offers forgiveness
Luke 2:11 - Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
A little boy wrote a letter to Santa Claus that said, "Dear Santa: There are three boys living at my house. Jeffrey is two, David is four and Norman is seven. Jeffrey is good some of the time, David is good some of the time, and Norman is good all of the time. --I am Norman."
You know the problem with that? None of us is a Norman. None of us bats .1000. None of us is always perfect or right. We all live with a sense of regret because none of us is perfect. That's why we need a Savior.
If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent an educator.
If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent an economist.
If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer.
But our greatest need was forgiveness, so he sent us a Savior.
"Unto you is born a Savior." You can be forgiven. Now that's the most priceless gift you can get.
XMAS can get you stressed – CHRISTMAS can give you peace.
God has given us the Recipe for Life. He says: "You want Peace? Then here is the Recipe. Find forgiveness through Jesus Christ."
That is why there is so much depression and so much suicide and so much rejection especially around Christmas time!
Real peace of mind is having a relationship with Jesus Christ, God's Son, and becoming friends with God.
Real peace is knowing that no matter what I do, God will never stop loving me.
Real peace is knowing that no matter what happens, God will never leave me alone.
Real peace means that no matter what happens in the next year, I know that God is going to give me the strength to handle it.
Real peace is living by God's Word, the Bible, so I can avoid a lot of the needless hang-ups and hurts and habits that mess up my life.
Real peace is teaching my children God's word as a foundation for life, so as I see them make decisions, I can say, "Boy, I'm proud of that. I'm not even there, and they're making that decision on their own." That's real peace.
So how do you and I get this peace? Listen to what God tells us:
Philippians 4:6-7 – “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Corrie Ten Boom said of worry, “It does not empty tomorrow of it’s sorrows, it empties today of it’s strength.”
XMAS is celebrated annually – CHRISTMAS is for eternity.
Two facts of life: We're all going to die someday and you're going to spend more of your life on that side of death than you will on this side.
I don't stand a chance in a million of getting into heaven on my own effort, and neither do you. I lost my chance at perfection a long time ago. So God had to come up with Plan B. He sent us a Savior. So we could get in on somebody else's ticket.
Fortunately, the good news is, that's what Christmas is all about too. That's why God sent Jesus Christ.
John 3:16 - “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
He says you can find it through trusting Christ. God says, "I'll take care of your past regrets, your present problems and your future fears."
Can you imagine being given a gift at Christmas and never unwrapping it? It would be silly. I mean, if you gave me a gift at Christmas and a year later you came over and I still hadn't unwrapped it, you'd think I was a little nutty. "Why haven't you unwrapped it?" "Oh, I love the wrapping paper. I'm sure I'm going to love it." "Well I'm going to get to it one of these days." And yet, many of you continue this Christmas after Christmas after Christmas after Christmas. You've celebrated every Christmas for as many years as you are old; you know the songs and the stories, and you know what it's all about, but you've never unwrapped the gift. Now what gives? What's the logic behind that?
God says, "I want to offer you forgiveness, peace of mind, and eternal life," and you haven't unwrapped it? Be serious. You're never going to be offered a greater deal than that.
May God truly bless you this holiday as you enjoy the gifts He has given you!