“Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.” – Corrie Ten Boom.
It’s the day after Christmas and all through the house there are piles of junk, cast-off toys, and piles of unwanted gifts to be returned as soon as possible. Perhaps you’re hoping to exchange the flannel shirt Uncle Pete gave you. The kids have already found that the cardboard boxes their toys came in are more interesting to play with than the items which the boxes originally contained.
You’ve already made the decision to put the tree out on the curb for pickup tomorrow and get ready for the new year. Maybe this year should be different. It is the time to pause and answer a question: “Is there any correlation between the focus of the Christmas holidays—and what drives and motivates your life after the Christmas decorations are gone and the poinsettias have wilted?
Yes, it is Jesus’ birthday, but it is also the beginning of the gospel story. We are not just celebrating the fact that Christ came as a baby. We are celebrating that He came and brought redemption to our world. In other words, He came to redeem everyone who believes in His name.
Here is how Paul answered that question in I Timothy 1:15: “This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.” Paul was thinking about the grace of God shown to him. He could not get over it. We too should be amazed. We too should not be able to get over it. We too should be in awe of God with us. We should be in constant astonishment at God’s grace and mercy that began for each of us on that first Christmas night.
Some people want to put Christmas behind them until next December. But others bask in the reality of the meaning of Christmas, the Incarnation. For them, Jesus is not a babe whose manger is getting pretty old and dusty. He is the living Savior, the One who became flesh at Bethlehem, the One who wants to touch the lives of people today. He can be pushed aside by packing up the Christmas decorations. Moving on after Christmas should include the risen Lord who will someday return from heaven. May we enter the New Year with our eyes focused on the risen Savior.
Take the time and the step of remembring the Christmas story during the year. Try to understand what “God with us” and “unto you is born a Savior” really means all year long.
- Do you think about Christmas year-round?
- What would you suggest are a couple of practical ways to help refocus on the true meaning of Christmas during 2023?