I read Jen Hatmaker’s post on the trouble with including Santa in the celebration, the problem with commercialism, and the guilt we ought to feel about purchasing goods produced by slave labor.
When I finished reading, I continued on to read the comments, of which there were many. Most of them were cheering Jen on with cries of, “Exactly! This is why my family celebrates this way (or doesn’t celebrate at all).”
I was left wondering if I was celebrating Christmas the right way.
I mean, I can’t really disagree with most of what Jen said and I’m one of the most guilt-prone people I know. But something kept me from wanting to beat myself up one more time.
I was confused by my confusion. Why wasn’t I reacting to this message the way I ordinarily do?
I took the matter to the Expert on all things Christmas and was surprised by what He said.
I expected to hear that although I celebrate well in some respects–like giving gifts similar to those the Wise Men gave–I was really messing things up. I figured He’d give me what for on the Santa stuff especially–lying to my children! How could I?
Then I was sure He would take me to task on how excited I get about buying gifts for people. He would remind me of the giddy anticipation I have of Black Friday and how it pales in comparison to my anticipation of Good Friday. He would be right.
But that isn’t what He said. He said, “Melanie…
Christmas isn’t about what you do.
Christmas isn’t about what I do? But that’s all I hear about these days–what people DO for Christmas. Facebook, Pinterest, even the news is all about what we do for Christmas. There are all kinds of ideas for gifts, decorating, and food. There are even lots of ideas about how to focus on the Reason for the Season.
While I was still trying to make sense of what He’d said, He explained:
Christmas is about what I did.
The grammarian in me recognized immediately His use of the past tense. Christmas is about what God had already done. He sent His Son, Jesus, to be born to a most humble couple in the most humble of circumstances.
What God had done changed my life. That’s the past perfect tense. What God did for you and me in the past, He did perfectly in Jesus. But I still wondered if I was celebrating Him in the right way. His answer surprised me again.
I sent Jesus to answer that question.
He sent Jesus to tell me whether I was celebrating Christmas the right way? To tell me about Santa and slave labor? Then I understood.
The answer to the question is a resounding “no.” I’m not celebrating Christmas the right way. What’s more, I’m not living the right way. But if I were capable of living right, I wouldn’t need a Savior. Doh.
I was seized by a joy that I haven’t experienced at Christmas in years. Christmas isn’t about what I do. It’s about what God did!
The most glorious truth about the birth of our Savior is that I can’t mess it up. Christmas is here whether Santa steals the spotlight or some Grinch steals our goodies.
Christmas is here whether the whole world trades “Merry Christmas!” for “Happy Holidays!” It’s here even if Black Friday begins the day after Halloween. It’s here no matter what you and I do.
We’re not celebrating Christmas the right way, friend. But Jesus came for that very purpose.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
This post is part of the Inspired Holiday Hop. You may enjoy these participating posts: