I heard one of my husband’s friends say, "I'm not impressed with snowmen and Santas." So I playfully interjected, "I don't care. I like snowmen," and we all laughed.
I had said that I wanted a "snowman" Christmas and God blessed me with the love of church friends and family who gave me lots and lots of snowman decorations throughout the year. I kept wondering why I was receiving these gifts and surprises of snowmen all year long. At our annual Ladies Ministry Christmas party, they finally let me in on the secret. They had declared a “snowball fight” and the snowmen gifts were all the snowballs they threw at me – the only target! Thanks to them, I now have a beautifully decorated Christmas tree with all the trimming --all in snowmen. I love it! And God's not against us enjoying Christmas, Christmas lights and decorations.
But as I'm looking at all the snowmen, I think about how I don't have any other kinds of decorations around the house. I start saying in myself, "Since Christmas is all about Jesus, shouldn't I have only Nativity scenes, Baby Jesus, Wiseman, stars, etc.? If I really love Jesus like I say I do ...I should." Then I start feeling guilty. I go on to say to myself, "I replaced Jesus, who is the only reason for the season, like the non-Christians do with Easter. Jesus dying on the cross for Deliverance and Salvation was exchanged for an Easter Bunny delivering Easter eggs to good little boys and girls with nothing to do with Jesus or Christianity! Shame on me!” Then I realize I have allowed the joy of Christmas and God's blessing for me to enjoy to become sorrow and all of the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s come to mind.
Then as I'm thinking another thought comes to mind: "thou shalt not make any graven images." Then Isaiah 58 comes into my mind:
Is it a fast that I have chosen, A day for a man to afflict his soul?
Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, And to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the Lord?
Christmas is a happy time of the year, but it isn't just about lights and decorations. Jesus isn't "impressed" with our Nativity scenes or our snowmen. Christmas is Jesus' birthday. So what would please Him?
1“Cry aloud, spare not;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
Tell My people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet they seek Me daily,
And delight to know My ways,
As a nation that did righteousness,
And did not forsake the ordinance of their God.
They ask of Me the ordinances of justice;
They take delight in approaching God.
3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen?
Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’
Judah was seeking God every day as though they desired to know His ways; yet at the same time, they were living in sin and in indifference to His Righteous commands. Today many Christians and congregations may worship the Lord outwardly, appearing to delight in praising Him and seeming eager to know His ways. At the same time, they may be conforming to the ways of the world. Neglecting the diligent study of His written Word... such 'worship' is an insult and an abomination to God. In verse 3 above, God's people were complaining that He would not help them. But God knew their worship and their fastings were hypocritical; He tells them that no religious act has any value to Him if it does not come from those who humbly seek to obey His commandments and who compassionately reach out to those in need.
6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
The fast that God approves of is one that is accompanied by love for Him and genuine concern for those who are oppressed. We must make a sincere effort to determine the needs of others and to commit ourselves to helping in whatever way we can. Read the rest of Isaiah 58:8-59:1 and I believe you will say what a sister in our church would say -- "WOW!" It is a powerful word.
It really doesn’t matter what kind of decorations we have at Christmas or if we have any at all. I realize all the presents and decorations are nice, but what God wants is our hearts. A very special lady made a statement to me when I commented on a vase of beautiful roses that she had received from her husband. I smiled and told her that she was blessed. I'll never forget her comment back to me:
"Thank you, but they're just roses. It's easy to just give flowers. What I really want would be to spend just one day with him laughing and playing... having fun and relaxing in each other's arms. To hear him say, "I love you." I would love to be as important to him as everything else is around him. Everything else has taken our time together. No, sis, you are the one who is blessed. You seem to have no possessions, but you still have all the love and laughter, enjoying spending time together as you and Craig do. I would give anything to have that! The flowers are nice but what I want is his heart."
This is what Jesus wants for Christmas. This is what He wants from us for His birthday.
So what IS Christmas all about?
Read Luke 2. First of all, it's about the birth of God's only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who came to us born of a Virgin in the form of flesh as man to save a world on its way to Hell. We were headed for eternal destruction with no light at the end of the tunnel. John 1:4-5 says: “4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
The Bible tells us in Matthew 25:40: And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
So this Christmas, do something for someone else where you get no credit, no glory, no recognition of any kind, but somebody else gets the benefit. Enjoy your family time together. It is so important. Love one another but do this every day of your life. There's more to Christmas though than just family get-togethers, food, games, Christmas plays, etc. We need to remember who Christmas is all about. It’s not just about us-- it’s about serving others. Why not start a new family tradition? Do something for someone else that is truly anonymous.
Here's an idea to get you thinking. Maybe you've never volunteered to work Christmas Day in a soup kitchen. Find out if there's one in your area and show the love of Jesus on Jesus’ birthday. We need to be teaching our children and ourselves that it's not just about us, but it's all about Him! Working one day in a soup kitchen may not change their lives, but again, who knows what one simple act of kindness may do? I guarantee that selflessly giving of yourself with no recognition or expectation of any kind of "thank you" or reward will change you. Just maybe in doing so, we'll find the true meaning of Christmas.
Don't only do it on Christmas Day, but do it throughout the entire year!
Jesus IS the reason for the season!
God Bless you and Merry Christmas!
Belinda Cook (aka Bk or Bekay) is the First Lady of Spirit Life Fellowship and a member of the Praise & Worship Team.