“Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, winter solstice holiday…with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all.”¹
Sometimes I feel very much like Charlie Brown, especially this time of year. I desperately want to find the most crowded mall in town, get everyone’s attention, and cry out my favorite line from A Charlie Brown Christmas: “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about???”
I don’t mean this in a self-righteous, bah-humbug-on-the-other-holidays sort of way. This is more rooted in my deep yearning for people to know and actually experience what it truly means to partake in God’s “peace on whom His favor rests” (Luke 2:14).
No, we shouldn’t ban the jolly fat man from our homes just because his name is an anagram for s-a-t-a-n, nor should burn the pagan “Christmas” trees or cry “foul” when we hear “Happy Holidays” instead of Merry Christmas.
Because sometimes in our efforts to take the moral high ground this time of year, we end up trampling over (or even on) the very people Jesus came to earth to save!
So may I humbly suggest that we focus on what the incarnation of the Word is all about as defined by the Word of God? In other words, this is what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown:
C Christ came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).
H The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
R But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons (Galatians 4:4).
I “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him “Immanuel”—which means, ‘God with us’” (Matthew 1:23.)
S For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all people (Titus 2:11).
T Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15).
M And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
A But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10).
S This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:9-10).
My friends, He came without ribbons. He came without tags. He came without packages, boxes or bags! (My apologies to Dr. Seuss). Let’s remember that the High King of Heaven chose to exchange His glorious throne for a stinking and reeking cave so we could exchange our destiny of death for eternal life.
We’ve been redeemed and we have been are received as adopted sons and daughters of our heavenly Father. We no longer need to fear, because our debt has been paid, and we have been given the greatest gift in the universe. If that’s not enough to give you a merry Christmas, then I’m not sure what will!
And let’s never forget that this is one of the most opportune times of the year to boldly proclaim the reason for the season in winsome and winning ways. C.S. Lewis obviously didn’t feel that having Father Christmas in Narnia diminished the greatness of Aslan, nor should we take it upon on our sometimes grinchy selves to “save” the meaning of Jesus’ birth. Let’s just go out in the power of the Holy Spirit for THE Cause of the gospel and let people witness the holly, jolly joy of our salvation in every aspect of our lives.
Because as Christians, we shouldn’t sound sad. Why, we should all sound glad! We want every person down in Personville, the tall and the small, to be singing because of Jesus, the greatest present of all!
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
At Christmas, it’s critical that we focus on the amazing gift of salvation we have in Jesus Christ. When we take our eyes off ourselves and put them on THE Cause, we have a great opportunity to show that wise men and women still seek Him.
Pray: Jesus, our Immanuel, we turn our eyes to You this Christmas and bow down to Your amazing presence. You came into this world to save sinners, among whom we are the worst. Please fill our hearts with gratitude for You and a burden for those who are still living in darkness.
Read: Isaiah 7:14. All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).
Get: Speaking of pointing people toward Christ with a shout-out in a crowded mall, check out this all-time classic Christmas flashmob video. Let it inspire you to spread the word about the reason for the season!
Discussion Guide for Leaders
Big Idea: Christmas is the key time for Christ’s followers to proclaim the message of the gospel for the sake of THE Cause of Christ.
Key Scripture: Luke 2:10
- How can you keep your focus on Jesus this Christmas?
- How is God calling you to reach your friends with the gospel?
- What is one way you can show everyone that Jesus is the reason for the season?
- What other ways could you apply this Soul Fuel to THE Cause?