Three Ways to Experience a Meaningful Christmas

I enjoy many cultural Christmas traditions. Listening to cheerful tunes like I’ll Be Home For Christmas, Feliz Navidad and Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire. Watching uplifting movies like The Sound of Music, It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas.

I even like the Budweiser commercials featuring a majestic team of Clydesdale horses prancing through a snowy landscape.

They’re all carefully written to provide warm fuzzies. And they do!

But Christmas has much more to offer than cool commercials and sentimental feelings. It’s an opportunity to reflect on life’s deeper meanings. To re-evaluate and re-adjust priorities. As long as you keep it in proper perspective.

So in case you’re overly busy, overly stressed or perhaps overly cynical due to an overly commercialized holiday season, here are three ways for you to keep the meaning of Christmas…well meaningful.

Keep the Focus on Jesus Christ

Christmas is an actual, historical event—the birth of Jesus Christ. All of the gift giving and celebration that is part of the Holiday Season today originated with his arrival into the world. He came with a very intentional, spiritual purpose. And that purpose is where you find the meaning.

We all may believe differently about the event, who Jesus was, and the spiritual impact he makes. But we can agree he is the central character of the story. And insist he remain there.

It seems odd…even awkward there’s a concerted, social effort to celebrate Jesus’ birthday and carefully avoid mentioning the name of the birthday boy. How would you feel about being left out of your own party?

So cave in to social peer pressure, or choose political correctness if you want. But remove Jesus from Christmas and you lose the meaning. Of course, you’ll still have Budweiser commercials to make you feel good.

Embrace the Wonder and Mystery

Santa Claus is mythological. Even magical. But Jesus was real. Scriptures say he was God in human form. Fully human and fully divine. And that is an unfathomable mystery. A concept beyond human comprehension. You can only accept and respond to it through faith.

But when you consider the response of all the characters present in the Gospel story, there was a unanimous posture of amazement, wonder and worship.

The Angels, the shepherds and the wise men among others. Even his mother Mary “pondered these things in her heart.”  The same sense of wonder and mystery surrounds his birth today. And if you choose to embrace it, you’ll be led, not to self-enlightenment, but towards the transforming presence of a person.

Keep it Real and Go All Out  

You get out of it what you put into it. You’ve said that, right? Probably about your job. Maybe a hobby, a special project you were involved with or something else you’re passionate about. It applies to Christmas too.

Jesus never accepted mediocre, but demanded all-out followers. He still does.

You might even be filled with anger, loneliness, resentment, and doubt this season. None of those things intimidates God in the least.

In fact, Jesus often responded with the greatest level of love, mercy and grace to those who others considered a lost cause. The social rejects. He preferred honest and open disbelief over superficial loyalty.

You don’t even have to be a mean, old Scrooge. Approach Christmas with an attitude of cynicism, Ho-Hum business as usual, or nothing but a check-list and expect little meaning in return.

You see, Christmas has always been about the heart. It’s yours to give or withhold as you choose. But know that God makes a promise: He reveals himself to those who seek Him with all their heart.

Christmas is about God showing up. But you have to show up too. And when you do, you’ll meet Him in a new, fresh way that offers ultimate meaning.

 

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