Written by Tim Grembowski
What is the Reason for the Season?
Luke 2:10-12: “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’”
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…”
Gal 5:22-23: “But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
Matt 22:39: “And the second (commandment) is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus Christ Superstar lyrics: “If you’d come today, you would have reached a whole nation. Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication.”
It is difficult to put my thoughts together on the topic of Christmas. It is easy to see those Fruits of the Spirit during Christmas. People everywhere giving and helping, singing and praying, making and baking, sharing and shopping in a spirit of love and good will towards all. However, what is the Reason for the Season?
I think Christmas is celebrating God’s Gift of saving (and amazing) Grace through Jesus Christ to all people for all time. It is a Great Gift because our fallen human condition requires it and God offers it through Christ. But, but… why do we need this saving in the first place?
Many people expect our leaders to solve all the problems of the world. In Jesus’ time, I understand many Jewish people expected that their Savior to restore the ancient and glorious Kingdom of David for all Israelites. Sadly, those expectations were not met. They remained under the oppressive and brutal rule of an occupying force for many years to come. Those contemporary lyrics of Jesus Christ Superstar (which I love!) expose our human condition, questioning and wondering why Jesus did what He did when He did it. Many seemed to have missed His Message back then, but fortunately not all.
So, what about today? Isn’t today’s world so much different from 4BC? Do we fallen beings in our human condition still expect restoration and some sort of utopia here on earth? Sadly (again), the last time I checked (~Nov 3rd), about half the population of the USA believes they have been living under oppressive rule and the other half believes they will be soon. Are we still missing His Message, that Good News of Great Joy?
Talk about mass communication…with today’s countless texts, tweets & googles reaching millions in seconds around the globe, you would think His Message would be clearly communicated and understood by now. That we would have all knowledge and wisdom, that we would understand and empathize, and we would know what this brief human life on this earth is all about. Again, these are unrealistic expectations. Christ never promised to make everything perfect in our worldly lives.
By now, you may think this is a pessimistic view, devoid of the Hope Jesus promises and doomed to a broken, imperfect existence. On the contrary, for me anyway, Christianity puts the focus on why we all need Redemption in the first place. Let’s face it, if we don’t really think we need redemption, Christmas is just one big group hug with good deeds and good food (though always welcomed regardless!).
To me, Christianity requires that you look within with humility and acknowledge just how imperfect and sinful our own human condition is. That is what justifies Redemption and this Great Gift!
What about those “expectations”? Aren’t we disappointed a lot in life? Didn’t quite get that present you were hoping for? Isn’t easy to “see” the brokenness in others, whether they are family, co-workers, neighbors or, dare I say, those with other political views? Another Gift from God is the lesson Jesus taught on how to love our neighbors; how to extend this Gift of Grace toward others. We could talk about he Gift of the Holy Spirit, but later for that….
Prayer: Heavenly Father, as we enter this Christmas season of love and joy, help us to remember the true Reason for the Season. May we give thanks for every day of precious life, the many blessings we receive (and often overlook), and these true Gifts you have given us – past, present and future. Amen.
If you’ve missed any of our previous daily posts, you can find them all archived here. We hope these devotional offerings are helping you encounter God this season!