As December approaches and Christmas draws near, we’re starting to see signs, Facebook posts and bumper stickers urging us to “put “Christ” back in Christmas. Fair enough. Lots of folks and businesses see the celebration of Jesus’ birthday as unimportant to the business and holiday aspect of the season. Watch any number of Christmas movies on the air right now and you’ll be lucky to pick up any religious or theological concepts. Most likely it’s about an overworked pretty person and how they meet the perfect mate over a glass of Christmas cheer.
So, I get it when people say they want Christ to be the focus of Christmas once again. It bugs me when it’s nothing more than an occasion to have a party or to regift that ugly sweater some well meaning co-worker gave you. But I don’t think that putting Christ back into Christmas is the answer. I think the answer is far deeper than that. I think we need to put Jesus back into our hearts and let Him handle the rest.
When we say Christ we’re referring to a very specific aspect of God’s earthly presence. Christ means “the anointed one”; it is a term that has a singular meaning that conveys both power and privilege. But when we say “Jesus” we’re uttering a simple name, God’s Word made flesh without a doubt, but we’re also speaking a very personal, human name.
By putting Jesus at the center of our lives, or deep in our hearts, we don’t transform a season; we transform ourselves. When Jesus is the reason for our existence, we are invited to love more deeply, care more openly and serve more earnestly. Jesus spoke to his friends as both a companion and a leader. He taught them. He leaned on them. He modelled forgiveness, mercy, grace and joy to them. When we open our hearts to let Jesus do for us what He did for his most intimate followers we are a new creation, perfect and perfectly lovable and worthy to be in relationship with God, our Creator.
It would be great if everyone recognized and celebrated the Christ in Christmas. But it would be even better if we all lived for and through Jesus, not just for a season during the year but every moment God offers us on planet Earth. Why not give yourself the greatest gift ever offered? Why not let Jesus into your heart?