What Is The Spirit Of Christmas?

Today is the first day of December (that's right - I said it!) and so begins the most exciting time in a Christian woman's year. And it's not because of the shopping or the presents or even the cooking and decorating - this is the season to celebrate our Saviour's birth!

Before we get wrapped up in wrapping gifts and wrapping our house in decorations, I think we need a dose of truth to prepare us for the upcoming month.

Thus saith the LORD, Learn ye not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of the heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. Jeremiah 10:2-4

Have we turned our preparations for the Christmas season into a less-than-meaningful ritual rather than a way to bring honor to God? Are we more focused on taking pictures and staging events than on the miracle that was Christ's birth? Has cutting down a tree for our living room become more important that worshiping at the feet of our Lord?

In sharp contrast, I think about the excitement those shepherds must have felt receiving the Good News in that field.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men. Luke 2:8-14

First of all, can you even imagine being surrounded by angels and having them tell you of this greatest of all joys? The glory of the Lord was present, shining brighter than any tiny bulbs we might buy. This is the same overwhelming feeling we had the day we were saved, but that joy and glory fades unless we use this Christmas time as a rejuvenating boost.

And secondly, once they had this news they didn't run to the store to buy presents for each other. They didn't string up their tents with lights. They probably didn't even have a big meal - they made haste to the stable to greet their Saviour. The shepherds were more interested in beating a path to the manger instead of to the grocery store.

The Christmas spirit isn't about purchases, cards or decorations. There is nothing wrong with sharing the sentiments of our Christian joy, but only if our joy over Christ comes first. The Christmas spirit is about a Saviour Who was all man and all God coming to earth in the lowliest of ways to make the most extraordinary of sacrifices.

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year because it was the fulfillment of promise for our salvation and the day that led to our eternal life with the Lord. Those are the motivations for the Christmas spirit. I pray we'll keep them in mind over the next 25 days.

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