During this time of year, there's countless TV shows and movies dedicated to "The Christmas Spirit" - yet none of them mention the birth of Christ, which is what Christmas is about, is it not? I mean, His name is right there in the word itself!
It's really kind of started to bother me, this generic "Christmas Spirit," so it got me thinking, which led to me writing this.
So I ask, what is the Christmas Spirit? And why do you have it? What makes this holiday and this time of year so different than all the others? If you take Christ out of the equation, what do you have? Isn't it just any other day?
I admit that I get into the Santa and reindeer thing, too. That's a really fun part of Christmas, it encourages the imagination, etc - I get it. But the holiday is not called Santamas. When it comes right down to it, we're not celebrating Santa, we're celebrating Christ.
One of our favorite Christmas carols is not a popular one, but it's one of the oldest. It's called "Of the Father's Love Begotten," and it was written in the 5th Century. (That right there is pretty cool, I think - the fact that we can still sing a song written so long ago, and the meaning of it hasn't changed. Amazing.) One of the verses says this:
O that birth forever blessèd, when the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face, evermore and evermore!
That, my friends, should be "The Christmas Spirit" - rejoicing in the birth of our Christ! Without Him, our lives are empty and meaningless.
I know this, and I've known it for a long time (since I was raised in a Christian home), but sometimes when you're taught something at a very young age, you tend to just kind of say these rehearsed phrases, and not really think about them. Now that I'm older and raising my own kids, I've found myself really thinking deeper about it all, because I really have to break down this huge concept into smaller bits and pieces to someone who's learning it all for the first time.
In closing, as I was searching for some sort of references I could use for this post, I came across this old sermon by John MacArthur. I really liked his closing prayer:
Father, we thank You for this marvelous reminder of the focus of life which is worship. May it come from deep within us, directed toward You, our saving God, for what You have done for us, what You have done for generation after generation of saved sinners and the way in which You have kept every promise to Your people. We rejoice. And our rejoice finds its focus in this great historic moment when You came into the world as a baby. Thank You, we praise You, we offer You our heart worship in Your Son's name. Amen.