Evidence of the rapidly approaching Christmas season can be seen everywhere. Radio stations are blaring Christmas music, malls are packed with people doing their shopping and neighborhoods are lit up with Christmas lights. For most people, the Christmas season means the onslaught of extreme busyness. This isn’t something new.
When Jesus was born, everyone in Israel was busy traveling to their hometowns for the census. Things were so chaotic that, in Bethlehem, only a few shepherds noticed the arrival of the Son of God, and that was only after they were summoned by a host of angels.
Right there in Bethlehem one of the most amazing events in history was occurring, and it received very little attention. What an accurate reflection of what is happening today.
Over 2000 years after Jesus’ birth, the Church has spread worldwide. We have all of the benefits of modern communication at our fingertips, yet Jesus’ birth comes and goes every year and for the most part is ignored by our world. Our Christmas songs may mention Christ, but to the average person, Jesus has little or no meaning to their Christmas celebrations.
My younger cousin found this to be true a few years ago. He was sitting in class, and his teacher was asking the students to call out words that were associated with Christmas. Being the bold Christian that he is, my cousin said "Jesus" and in reply one of his classmates said "Jesus? What does Jesus have to do with Christmas?"
That question the boy asked is the same question the world is asking, and the Christmas season is a perfect opportunity for us as believers to provide an answer.
To many, the Church and Christianity in general has become irrelevant. A Santa Claus figure who gives children gifts is more appealing than a God who died to offer eternal life to anyone who believes. This is an unfortunate reality, but you and I have the opportunity to change this for those around us, especially during this holiday season.
How can we do this? Well, we can show the world what Jesus has to do with Christmas through our love. When we take a time out from our holiday busyness to stop and reach out to others, the world will see exactly what Jesus has to do with Christmas.
Take Operation Christmas Child, for example. Millions of children around the world are forever changed because someone they don’t even know reflects the love of Christ by giving them a shoebox filled with gifts. Here in North America that act of kindness may not bear the same effect to the child in the upper middle class family, but acts of kindness can. Giving up a parking space, going door to door singing Christmas carols, visiting those without family, providing gifts to the poor, collecting for the food bank—there are many things that we can do to point the world to the true meaning of Christmas.
Living in 2006, now more than ever the world is asking what exactly Jesus has to do with Christmas, and we as Christians need to show them the answer. This Christmas, let’s follow the example of Jesus and be giving of our time, money and resources. After all, the true message of Christmas is that God so loved the world that He gave, and the only way the world will know that message is if you and I do the same.