Stuff Or Saviour?

Thanksgiving is past, and there is now less than a month until Christmas. At a recent local Thanksgiving parade, a bunch of people in elf costumes walked in the parade. A mother said to her child, “Why all the elves? Christmas isn’t about elves. Christmas is all about Santa Claus!”

What momma said reminded me of something that happened nearly twenty years ago. We had picked up three children to bring them to church for the first time. It was early December. During children’s church, the kids were practicing for the upcoming Christmas program. The program was the Christmas story – Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, shepherds, sheep, and other barnyard animals. Since all the children are involved, we gave the new kids parts. The oldest was a shepherd, and the younger two became animals to stand around the manger. The new children enjoyed dressing up in costume and heard the gospel through the Christmas story.

The drive home became a trip I will never forget. The oldest child, twelve years old, asked, “What does all that stuff have to do with Christmas?”

That twelve-year-old is around thirty now, roughly the same age as our parade mom. One has to wonder, how many people out there have never heard the Christmas story? For those who were kids in the 1960s, even if you never went to church, you listened to the Christmas story once a year by watching Charlie Brown’s Christmas.

I hate to say this, but Christmas is about stuff for most people. I know; the Grinch took all the stuff, and everyone still gathered in the center of town to sing. But would it happen that way in most households, or do you think that children would throw fits and demand their gifts that were under the tree the night before?

When adults meet children in December, the first thing the adult usually says is, “What do you want Santa to bring you this year?” I hear many a parent lament the fact that the items on their children’s Christmas list are too expensive. Adults are wrapped up in the materialism of the holiday as well. “Black Friday” is all that needs to be said to illustrate that.

Many people wake up on the morning of December 26th with relief because Christmas is over. This attitude means Christmas is something we get through instead of something we look forward to.

I once took a stress test. The test was to measure emotional stress. There were one hundred items, and each item was worth a number of points. The higher the number, the more stress the event caused; divorce, for example, was top on the list, worth 100 points. Christmas was on the list, worth 10 points. Think of this for a minute – Christmas is 10% as stressful as going through a divorce. Christmas is supposed to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. Yet, ten Christmases are equivalent in stress as the breakup of a family.

As a society, we need to get back to the real meaning of Christmas.

The true purpose of Christmas starts with creation. God created the human race in His image. We have a spirit, soul, and body, as God has. God also gave us free will. It did not take long, but eventually, the human race sinned (disobeyed God). This action plunged us into spiritual darkness. Our sin have separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2).

For us to have fellowship with God, if we are going to spend eternity with God in heaven, the sin problem must be resolved. Somehow, someway, God needed to wash our sins away permanently. The Bible explains that the only way to erase sin is by the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22).

Enter Jesus Christ – now we are getting to Christmas. The Holy Spirit came upon the virgin Mary, and she conceived the Son of God. Nine months later, Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ. Christmas is when we celebrate His birth.

Without Jesus Christ, there is little hope in this life and no hope for the next one. The Babe in the manger is God in the flesh. The Babe is the Saviour of the world. We give gifts to each other as a symbol of God’s gift to us – His Son.

Christmas is not about stuff; it is about the Saviour.

The baby Jesus was born to die on the cross for our sins. Therefore, Christmas should be a time of faith, hope, and charity, not frustration, anxiety, and selfishness.

Instead of asking a child what Santa will bring them, ask if they know what Christ has brought them.

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