If there was one thing we'll all do this week (besides open presents, eat lots of food and spend time with family), it will be to…
It’s insane how many things in our culture are devoted to Christmas! The amount of Christmassy songs, especially, blows my mind. Even more noteworthy, is how many songs are about the actual day of Christmas. Then there’s cheesy movies galore, and sweaters, and decorations, and who knows what else. All things we reserve (and store) to use one month out of the year (and that all focus on one day out of the year!).
In my opinion, this cultural Christmas intensity causes us to head into the holiday season with high expectations. I’m not sure what we even expect, but we expect something. And as a kid, the magic was easy enough to feel. Presents and decorations and events did the trick. But as adults, there’s usually too much reality mixed in to constantly “feel the magic.”
But I suppose the question is, what’s the point of all this Christmas charm anyway? And is it that we’re being a bit grinch-like if we are not feeling all the feels?
I imagine there’s a decent percentage of people who feel a twinge of disappointment on December 25th and 26th as Christmas passes by and it doesn’t live up to all the hype. And that might be where the problem lies. If we are disappointed, it’s probably because the hype made us expect something that Christmas was never meant to be. Christmas itself was never meant to fulfill us.
It’s not surprising, however, that we expect Christmas to satisfy our hearts. That’s the basic message in all the Christmas movies and songs.
Nevertheless, that’s not the point of Christmas. At least, not for the Christian.
In fact, ironically, Christmas is when Jesus came on the scene and turned everything upside down— and through him we learn that the things of this life will never truly satisfy. And that’s okay. Life can be disappointing; the holidays can be disappointing. Such is life on a fallen planet. But Christmas, on the other hand, ushers in a new and lasting hope that far surpasses what this life (and the holidays) have to offer.
Regardless of how perfect (or imperfect) our holiday season is, Christmas is amazing in and of itself because we remember when God did something incredibly amazing. He came down from his throne to dwell among us as a little baby—so that one day he could grow up, and take on God’s wrath, for us, on the cross.
So though there’s no need to feel warm fuzzies sitting around the Christmas tree, we should feel deep gratitude to our God who sent a Savior. No need to be jolly because of all the festivities, but the joy or our salvation should fill us up. No need to long for picture-perfect moments when we can anticipate a picture-perfect eternity– All because of what Jesus accomplished when he came to earth.
All that to say, the presents and the memories, and the stockings and the gatherings, may never live up to our expectations. Oh well. The point is: that’s not the point of Christmas. The Christmas hype may always tempt us to be a bit disappointed, but Christmas hope is what it’s all about.
So with gratitude and joy and expectation, enjoy this holiday season because of the countless reminders that God sent his son for you. The hope Christmas brings will never disappoint.