Christmas: Missed or Marked?
As we turn the corner from Thanksgiving to Christmas, I want to consider the subject we are covering in our Christmas series here at Grace Church. Over the next few weeks we will ask ourselves, “Have we missed Christmas, or are we marked by Christmas?” Let me first explain what I mean by that question.
At this time of year it’s very easy to get drawn into all the holiday activity. How many parties, meals, gatherings, etc., have you attended or are you planning to attend? They are great fun, but they can make the Christmas season feel really busy, can’t they? I love concerts. I’m really looking forward to the Grace Kids Choir concert this Sunday evening. The leaders have not only taught our children songs. More importantly, they have taught the kids why we worship. You can see in their faces and hear in their voices the worship they are bringing to our King. My family is also attending a large concert in a few weeks. These events are fun times with friends and family, but they are another commitment on an already busy calendar. So back to my central question: Have we missed Christmas or are we marked by Christmas?
When I talk about missing Christmas, I’m not referring to waking up on the 25th and thinking, “I know I had something to do today, but I just can’t remember.” It’s not that kind of missing I’m talking about. I’m also not talking about forgetting to buy presents and arriving red-faced at your family’s house empty-handed. When I ask if you have missed Christmas, here's what I’m asking: Is Jesus at the center? Is Jesus at the center of your mind? Is Jesus’ name on your tongue? As you drive and you hear a song that you love on the radio, are you thinking about the words? That’s what I mean by missing Christmas. In our Christmas series here at Grace we are going to contrast four Biblical characters who missed Him (Jesus) and four Biblical characters who were marked by Him (Jesus).
Some of the characters that missed Jesus were the religious leaders. They were so close in proximity to Jesus, yet they missed Him, big time! They knew the Word well – better than most. They knew the prophecies, and yet, when the Messiah stood in front of them they missed it altogether. That’s my fear for those sitting in our pews this Christmas. They may have knowledge about Christmas. They may really enjoy Christmas, but have they missed the point? That baby born in a stable was, and is, the Messiah. That baby born would one day die to make salvation possible. That truth marked many people we read about in the Bible. Think about the shepherds. Unlike the religious leaders, they were simple guys, but an angel appeared to them and they responded in worship. They were marked by Jesus.
Have you missed Christmas, or are you marked by Christmas?
I recently read this quote: “Christ came to bring peace and we celebrate his coming by making peace impossible for six weeks of each year. He came to help the poor and we heap gifts upon those who do not need them.” ~ A.W. Tozer
Have a good week,