I’m writing this Christmas article that will reach you several days before Christmas because I want to ask everybody to do something throughout the days leading up to Dec. 25. You may or may not know this about me, but I’m a pastor. And Christmas is the time of year that we remember and celebrate the whole reason behind my faith—the birth of Christ. It often seems like this true meaning isn’t what people gather together to celebrate, though. It’s frequently obscured by the giving/receiving of gifts and family and work gatherings.
But this year, it’s going to look a lot different than it usually does. Even if your family is planning to gather together, my guess is the get-togethers will be shorter and less frequent than usual. Work parties and other extended family events are most likely completely cancelled. This means that our Christmas schedule this year will be a lot less frenzied than in years past. And I’d like to encourage you to spend some time this year thinking about the true meaning of the holiday.
In this time of turmoil, I want to encourage all of us to spend some time getting to know the Prince of Peace—Jesus. You may have heard people talk about faith as something that solves all of your problems or completely fixes all of your hard circumstances. If that’s your perspective on what Christianity is, then you’re not too far off from what the people in Jesus’ day were expecting from Him. The Jewish people were living under an oppressive Roman government and hoping for a military and/or political leader who would solve their problems. Instead, Jesus came to solve an entirely different problem—our separation from God as a result of sinful choices and actions. Rather than overthrowing Roman rule and establishing a new government that made Jesus and his followers the new ruling class, Jesus came to save people from their sins.
In years past, Christians have spent a lot of time coming up with ways to explain how our world and each person individually is “broken” and separated from God by our sinful nature and choices. To be honest, I think life right now is doing all of that explaining for us. I doubt that anybody reading this remains unconvinced that something is just plain wrong, both in our world and in ourselves.
Jesus came to make a way back to God. But his message of peace, love, forgiveness and surrender was so far removed from what the religious and political leaders wanted to hear that they sentenced Him to death. I’m going to be really candid here and let you know that where you’re hearing the message of division, hate, power seeking and anger coming from Christians, they aren’t carrying forth the message of Christ. If you’ve been turned off by that message, I believe you will actually really love Jesus and what He stood for and taught! I’d encourage you to go straight to the source and encounter Him for yourself. You can find the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (known as The Gospels) online or in a Bible and read His story for yourself. In a time when so much of life feels incredibly chaotic, spend some time getting to know the Prince of Peace. When you get to know Him, He will transform your personal life as well as your family life, helping you to win more often at home.