It’s a popular tag line this time of year, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” It falls in line with another I see on billboards around the city I live in, “Keep Christ in Christmas.” These are some of the ways we try to remind the world about Jesus at the time when so many other messages distract them from the message of Jesus’ coming.
Unfortunately, it comes across as a bunch of hokey semantics and religious nuttiness. And I don’t if you’ve heard, but a lot of people are allergic to nuts.
According to Google, a cliche is “a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.” Do you think these apply?
After all, even Christians get tired of hearing these things. But it also betrays how little we understand about the coming of God’s Son. Jesus is not the reason for the season. We are.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a Jesus follower who wants other people to find Him and the life He offers them. He connects us to God and to the life we were created to live.
But I think we put on our “high and mighty” t-shirts a bit too much this time of year. Since we are Christians and Christmas starts with “Christ”, we want to remind the world of how we’ve got things figured out. We are those “wise men” who still seek Him. Everyone else had better get “wise”, too.
Though it is good for us to celebrate His coming, He didn’t come for Himself. Jesus frequently tells us how what He said and did was not to glorify Himself, but the Father.
So even if we wanted to put a God-centered spin on Christmas, the season is about the Father. It is the result of the Father’s love, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son …” (John 3:16 NKJV).
How is pointing to Jesus being “high and mighty”? It removes the real reason for His coming. The Father sent His Son because the world was fallen, and mankind was broken by sin. The real reason for the season is the curse of sin.
If we stop and acknowledge Jesus came because of how messed up we are, and then announce that to the world, we think we lose our status of “wise men” and holy people. Now we are just a bunch of messed up people, just like everyone else. We rarely want to admit this.
By pointing to Jesus we get to sing “Joy to the World” and “O Come Let Us Adore Him,” all while hiding our filthy rags under our Christmas dresses and suits and ugly sweaters. We want Christmas to be a celebration of happiness and goodness and the love of God.
But it’s really about grace for the graceless, hope for the hopeless, and love for the unloving and unloved. It’s about peace for the hateful, mercy for the vengeful, and forgiveness for the shameless.
Jesus wasn’t born so we could immortalize Him as “baby Jesus” in a feeding trough under a wooden stable. The Son was given to the world so the world facing condemnation and death could find grace and life in the sacrifice of Jesus.
So take a moment this Christmas season and be honest with yourself. You need Jesus. If you didn’t, He would not have had to come. But His coming proves our need for Him. God would not sacrifice His only begotten Son for nothing.
He gave Jesus because you are broken, sinful, hurting, lost. You are. I am. Everyone is. But in Jesus we find the message that God loves us, wants to forgive us, and to give us purpose in this life, and glory in the next.
Don’t deflect the message of Christmas to Heaven as a way of ignoring your need. Don’t ignore what Jesus’ coming means about who you are. Instead, hear the message that God loves in spite of all you can’t stand about yourself, and that love broke the boundaries of Heaven and Earth when the Son was born for you.