If you walked up to a random person on the street and started a conversation about Christmas, you would almost certainly spend your time talking about gifts, food, Santa, music, etc. If you had a conversation with someone you knew was a Christian about Christmas, if you were like me you would probably talk about Jesus at some point, but you would both be more excited about presents and Christmas treats. How has Christmas gotten so far from what we know it should be? Billions of dollars are spent every year on gifts for family and friends (some we love dearly and others we might not even like but we feel obligated!). Many of those gifts seem useless and destined to quickly hit the thrift store, garage sale or dump. A time that historically has been rooted in love, deep reflection and enjoyment of the gift of life and family has been turned into the busiest, most stressful time of year. It leaves me wondering, ‘What is God’s will for Christmas, and how can we enact that will?’
The birth of Jesus was a beautiful gift to mankind, but what exactly was the gift? It wasn’t just a baby boy. The gift of Jesus was the embodiment of God on earth. When Jesus was born into this world as a man, God affirmed humanity and entered into a new level of relationship with us.
‘Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.’ ~ Colossians 1: 15 – 22 New Living Translation
As this passage states, the fullness of God dwelt in his Son Jesus Christ, but he was also fully a man (read Jesus Unmasked: Man here). As fellow humans, we now have a special relationship with Christ as a man. The birth of Christ and the relationship between Christ and humanity was the start of the greater gift of reconciliation talked about in verse 20.
As verse 21 states, we were far away from God, and at the time of Jesus’ birth, Israel was far from God, but the physical body and relationship of God’s fullness has reconciled all things to him. Relationship fueled by the love of God has the power to reconcile all things. The very first Christmas was about reconciliation through relationship, and now we have gotten to a point where Christmas itself needs a deep and meaningful reconciliation that I believe will only come through the fostering of deep and meaningful relationships.
- How can you make Christmas less about you and your desires and more about loving and serving others?
- In what ways can you better enjoy and build relationships at Christmas without all the $ spending (Consumerism)?
- How can we better resist and not be consumed by the commercialization of Christmas (spending $, gift buying)?
- If you’re a person of faith, how can you have a better attitude and practice of worship during the Christmas season?
Here’s some resources you might find helpful as you wrestle through these ideas and questions.
Advent Conspiracy – resources and suggestions to help you flip the meaning of Christmas upside-down
24/7 Prayer Advent – short daily vids to ground you in the Christ story of Christmas. Subscribe via iTunes or get app for your phone.
Jesus Unmasked: Man – article discussing Jesus as being fully man
Jesus Unmasked: God – article discussing Jesus as being fully God
:: by Jared Braund of Vancouver, BC
I’m a student of The War College in downtown Vancouver, living in the 614 community, pursuing God in the poor of the Downtown Eastside. I’m currently living out my passion for the janitorial arts, but would one day like to be a writer.