‘Bout this time of year, we tend to hear a lot about “the spirit of Christmas”. From the local radio station to department stores ads, the “the true meaning of Christmas” is no longer taboo but is freely talked about in both the evangelical and (most of) the secular world.
Of course, there are varying opinions on what the Christmas season actually represents:
“Sharing good times with people you care about–now that’s what Christmas is all about.”
“Nothing shows the Christmas spirit like the gift of giving.”
“Christmas is about compassion; it’s for the poor and weak of this world.”
“It’s not Christmas until the tree is up and your favorite Christmas album is playing.”
“Christmas isn’t Christmas without presents!”
According to Ask.com:
“If you ask 10 people what the Christmas spirit is, you’ll probably get 7 to 8 different answers. Going beyond those different answers, there is something that makes people more selfless, more friendly, more kind, and generally much nicer people at Christmas.
Growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s, that something, I’ll call it the Christmas spirit, was much more prevalent back then than it is today. Wow! Right after Thanksgiving, when people’s thoughts began to focus on Christmas, it was like the whole world transformed! People were happier and had more hope. They were more helpful. People smiled and said hello to everyone when they met on the streets. Once Christmas Day was over, people went back to their old selves. The transformation was beyond anything that can be explained, except that there is a true Christmas spirit that is much bigger than anything people could bring about, that comes out at Christmas time.
Sadly, it seems that the Christmas spirit that brought about that transformation back then isn’t as prevalent today. Perhaps commercialism and people becoming more self-oriented has made it so the invisible, but real, spirit that visited earth back in those days, just doesn’t visit us in the way it used to.” (emphasis mine)
Hmm, why do you think the “Christmas spirit” isn’t as transformational as it was in the 50’s and 60’s, as this anonymous contributor suggests? Although it could be argued that society as a whole might have been more ethical a few decades ago, perhaps the answer behind the current lack of seasonal good cheer lies within their definition of the “spirit of Christmas”.
Perhaps they’re missing the most important thing about Christmas.
As one blogger has noted, “Every made-for-TV movie I watched between Thanksgiving and New Year’s preached the same gospel: “It’s not about presents.” But then, every Christmas morning, I was inundated with presents. It didn’t make sense. Someone was lying.”
As long as the truth is muffled, there will be no joy in Christmas, and no good cheer, because there is no Jesus.
“As comfortable as it might be to parse out our celebrations and keep our holiday sentimentals in their own clearly labeled boxes, we cannot keep Bethlehem and Golgotha apart without losing what Christmas really is. There’s a place for focusing on the stable, the shepherds, and the wonder of the incarnation, but to appreciate the depth of what is happening here, we must keep Calvary’s hill on the horizon.” (David Mathis, Let a Little Lent into Your Advent)
It may sound cliche, but Jesus really is the reason for the season. The Cross is the crux of Christmas.
I would assume that writing to this blog audience is like preaching to the choir, but this story never gets old. Use the Christmas season to be reminded of more than Santa, sweets, or songs. Dwell on Why Christ Came. Here’s a few resources to help get you going:
Where the Story of Christmas Begins, by Albert Mohler
Four Accounts, One Savior, by Peter Nenadov, The Gospel Coalition
Better Than a Norman Rockwell Christmas, by Elyse Fitzpatrick, True Woman Blog
Five Habits For Holiday Happiness, by Nicole Whitacre, GirlTalk Blog
Let a Little Lent Into Your Advent, by David Mathis, Desiring God