If there is one thing about Christmas almost everyone can agree on, whether you are a Christian or non-Christian, it is that Christmas has lost its intended meaning. Most everyone knows that behind Santa, the elves and reindeer, the real meaning behind Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth. And yet most are content with celebrating it anyway and changing the meaning to however they see fit. For some, its about family and gifts, for others its about vacation and friends, and for most kids its about gifts, presents, gifts, toys, and some more gifts.
I ran into one of my neighbors, who I rarely see, and we had the usual acquaintance holiday conversation that went something like this.
Me: “Hi Doc Brown, How are ya?”
Doc B. : “Im great, how are you? It’s nice to see you again.”
Me: ” You too! Do you have any Christmas plans?”
Doc B. : “Oh you know, Christmas has just become a commercial holiday set up by hallmark. It’s just a time for everyone to make more money. I like to wait till January when everything is on sale to buy my stuff.”
And of course, after he said that I completely disagreed and put him in his place and told him that Christmas was about Jesus and he should know that and shame on him for turning it into something else and not celebrating on December 25th!!!!!
Actually, I didn’t do that.
I didn’t know what to say because even though I had just came from church I couldn’t help but agree when I took into consideration his perspective. And maybe we could have had a significant conversation about it if I couldn’t tell that he was scrambling to get in his apartment and avoid the conversation. But still, I couldn’t disagree at the time because I was almost paralyzed by his answer.
I’m sure that most of you put together that Doc Brown’s perspective was far too up close for him to see the greater picture. And for most of us, its our perspective that needs to change to understand Christmas. If we look at it up close, we will only see the small stuff. Gifts, Santa, Family, Vacations, and maybe a sprinkle of the real Christmas message.
But lets take a second and step back. Way back…. Some philosophers like to call it the 10,000 foot perspective. Go as far back as you can possibly go and then go a little further and look at the meaning of Christmas. And let it blow your mind!
God… Creator God. All-powerful, all-knowing, before everything and after everything, and in-everything God. Came to us! In the form of a baby!
Okay pause, hold your breath, close your eyes and think about that if you really believe it and try to believe it more.
(If you really just did that, let me know and I will give you a giant high-five.)
And for 2,000 or so years, the entire earth, whether they know it or not, celebrates His birth every year.
God. Who can do anything He wants… Who can write any story He wants to save humanity from their sin… Chose to come in the form of a baby. It does not get more humble or beautiful than that!
And!!! His plans work out perfectly beyond His arrival on the scene! He lives a perfect life. Tells people all about the Father’s love in the best stories ever told, heals the sick, makes the blind see, walks on water, calms storms, willingly dies on a cross, defeats death, rises up from the grave, shows up to His friends and tells them to tell other people about this story. And then those people went out and told people about it.
And here is the difference in those people who saw Jesus after He had risen from the dead… They knew that it was NOT JUST A STORY! That it was real and that it changed people instantly when they believed it. They couldn’t stop telling people about it and they couldn’t stop singing! Even when they got put in jail for telling people about it it didn’t even matter because they knew that the story was REAL. So they just kept on singing and telling people about it!
We need to take steps to get closer to this kind of a perspective about Christmas. The Doc Browns of the world will continue to see the smaller picture if we do not. Plus, Christians everywhere will complain that a fairy tale about Santa has stolen their holiday. Maybe, Santa didn’t steal our holiday at all… Maybe we gave it to him because we chose to make Christ’s story equally as powerful as a fairy tale in our own lives.
But we know It’s NOT a fairy tale.
Its real. And it changes everything.
Student Ministries Worship Director