Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Friday, December 5, 2014

Making Christmas too "Jesusy", a re-post

This post has been on my mind this week, not because I think it was that well written.... I am sure it could be better, but as we are entering this Christmas season, life seems to be going like a whirlwind. I get up early, go to work, come home and eat supper, have around 5 1/2 hours of free time before I go to bed so I can get up the next day and do it all over again.

  And it is bugging me that again, I am working Christmas. It almost seems like a sacrilege, but amid all of the busyness, the work, the shopping....I don't want it to be a holiday I celebrate like the world does. I want my Christmas to be more "Jesusy" than ever before. So with that said, I am re-posting this blog post from last year. Thankfully, I am no longer working Sundays, so I can be in church every Sunday.

I've been thinking this week about something I blogged about a few years ago. I was at the post office here in my town, being the second person in a line of two people. The customer being waited on, a woman, was buying stamps. What she said caught my attention: "I need a book of Christmas stamps, but I don't want anything too Jesusy."

  Anyone who knows me very well will be completely shocked that I had to open my mouth, but I overcame my intense shyness and spoke up, "Too Jesusy? You do know Christmas is all about Jesus and His birth, don't you?" She laughed and gave some explanation about her request, paid, and left.

 What a crazy statement. And a weird word. Whoever heard of "Jesusy" anyway.

 I don't know if my remarks changed her thinking any, but hers have stuck with me. Christmas is all about Jesus, or it is supposed to be, so how can you be too "Jesusy" about His birthday? That's like someone having a birthday party for you and trying not to make it too much about you. Sounds dumb. As dumb as trying not to make Christmas too much about Jesus.

  The truth of the matter is, we are all a bit like that woman. If we are a Christian, hopefully we don't set out to not make Christmas too much about Jesus, but too many of us do exactly that. We chirp "He's the reason for the season" and make sure to say "Merry Christmas", instead of "happy holidays" - and those are important, but it takes more than that to make Christmas about Jesus.

  I did a blog post recently on Keeping Christ In Christmas, and another post on keeping focused on Jesus during Christmas, and that's all well and good, but its easier said than done.

 It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, the Christmas services at church, the gift giving, and good things we associate with Christmas, and even while doing lip service to the real meaning of Christmas, we let the season slip by without truly experiencing it in our hearts.

 What does that look like? We're all different, but I believe we need to focus more on Him at this time. I have been thanking Him for coming for me, for saving me, and trying to spend some time thinking about that night. About what it was like, about the characters in the Christmas story, and what it means that God became a baby for us.

  I'm not setting myself on a pedestal, for I have been just as guilty as any, in doing lip service to the real meaning of Christmas, yet breezing through His birthday, too busy to do more than the usual.

  I have talked a lot about Brennan Manning's book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, and how much the book has helped me. I bought his devotional book, Reflections for Ragamuffins, and I started reading it even though its close the end of the year. He has some great insights into Christmas and that has helped me focus more on Jesus.

  If we don't make Christmas more "Jesusy" in our hearts, it won't do us any good to say "Christmas" instead of holiday, and go around telling people "He's the reason for the season." We should be focused on Jesus 24/7, 365 days of the year, but this is the time we observe His birth. But we shouldn't stop there. We need to meditate on why He came, and think about that baby dying on a cross for our sins. You can't have Calvary without Christmas, but Christmas is only important because of Calvary.

 I want this time to be special. Yes, I love the shopping, the giving and receiving of gifts, the decorations, and everything we associate with Christmas, but I want to focus on the Reason for it all.

  There is only one service I have been in at church this month. I have to work every Sunday morning, and missed the last two Sunday nights, so maybe that has forced me to pursue this more than I would have if I had heard Christmas sermons and been in church. But I haven't had that, so I have had to pray more and focus more on Jesus in the manger and on the cross. Maybe its a good thing I have missed the Christmas services so far. It has caused me to do more searching and meditating on my own. I am, God willing, going to be at our candle light service this coming Sunday night.

  One of the last lines in The Christmas Carol says of Scrooge, "and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge." May it be said of we Christians that we know how to keep Christmas, and keep it Christ centered. "Jesusy", if you will. It is all about Him, it is time we did more to make it about Him.

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