“For if one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
(James 1:23-25)

Christmas is not about presents.
Jesus is the reason for the season.
Keep Christ in CHRISTmas.

You undoubtedly have heard one or more of these sayings this season, and though yes, they have become rather cliché, you  can’t deny their truth. But saying I remember the reason for the season and living as if I remember are two completely different things.

And I have fallen terribly short this year.

It’s like the story of Sam T. Sirhc . . . the boy who thought he had it all and didn’t need Jesus. Oh he knew Jesus; he set Him up on a shelf and smiled at Him every day, and even spoke to Him some days. But that was all he did. He tried to be happy on his own by making life revolve around “Sam”, but inwardly he was miserable–because he had it all backwards. Sam didn’t need more stuff or friends or entertainment . . . he needed Christ. And when one day the Light shone on his heart, revealing his ugly pride, Sam’s life was turned around, and he discovered that life wasn’t about

S-A-M T S-I-R-H-C.

It was only when Sam learned to put Christ first did he understand the meaning of

C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S.

So ignoring the fact that nobody knows the story of Sam T. Sirhc because I just made it up, the point is that his story is mine. And maybe it’s yours, too. I’ve said all the right things this December, sang the Christmas carols, attended Handel’s Messiah, given away presents, and smiled at Jesus.

But I haven’t spent time with Jesus. I haven’t focused on why the baby in the manger really matters. I looked at my natural face in the mirror, and then walked away and forgot.

Because when suddenly my travel plans turn askew because folks dreaming of a white Christmas are getting their wish, I become angry that might be inconvenienced and I might miss Christmas with my family! Because what’s Christmas if I’m not happy at home with my family?

. . . And that’s why Christ came.

“And you shall call His name Jesus,
for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21)

So with less than 24 hours left til the day we call “Christmas” and celebrate Christ’s birth, I repent of my proud attitude and dedicate these hours to giving glory to God in the highest, because He came for the lowest. There are far worse travesties than spending Christmas away from home. So come tomorrow, whether I find myself alone in my room, crowded in a hectic airport, or snuggled on the coach between siblings, I want to live like the incarnation matters.

Because it does.

– – – – –

Food for thought:

Glory to God in the Lowest — from Desiring God

What Amazed Me This Year About Christmas — by Gavin Ortlund

He Made Himself Nothing — by Colleen Chao

Puritan Christmas Prayer — from The Gospel Coalition

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