‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the house, all the creatures were stirring asking, “Is it Christmas yet?”
Now you know why I put my Christmas tree up on December 19th.
My kids are super-excited about Christmas. Specifically, they’re excited about presents. But, as one of them was quick to point out, “Christmas isn’t just about presents. It’s about Jesus. And presents.”
So at least’s there’s that.
For me as a dad, what my daughter’s words remind me of is not a failing on her part, nor even a failing on mine. It’s a reminder of the fact that that the tension we feel at Christmas sometimes is the same tension we have every day. It’s so easy for presents and decorations and all the stuff surrounding how we celebrate Christmas to… not so much remove Jesus from the holiday, but to put him on the sidelines. Just like it’s so easy for the errands we have to run, the projects at work, the reports due for school, the movies we want to watch, and the laundry still undone to put Jesus on the sidelines.
This is why I’m uncomfortable with much of the “Keep Christ in Christmas” rhetoric. I appreciate and respect the sentiment, but it kind of misses the point. Ignore for a moment the fact that it’s trying to argue the case to people “out there”—the ones who don’t believe in Jesus—and let’s just focus on ourselves for a second. If he’s not a part of my Tuesday morning, Thursday night, or Sunday afternoon, does throwing him a bone around Christmas really make a difference?
Jesus gives the greatest gift of all—new life, forgiveness of sin, and the promise of eternity with him—and yet it’s so easy to take him for granted. And I don’t want that. Not in my life. Not in my wife’s or my children’s. And not in your’s, either.
So if we want to keep the “Christ” in Christmas, start with how you approach your every day and go from there. Spend time with Christ through the Scriptures and prayer. Express your love for him by loving others. Start this morning. And don’t stop.