Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?

The sales have already started! Last year, Black Friday crept into Black Thursday. This year, Christmas “Black Friday” sales started in October! The advertisers’ job is to tell us what we need. We “need” that new technology. We “need” that new toy or that new outfit. It just won’t be Christmas if that one special item isn’t under the tree! Economists are telling us that spending on Christmas presents is expected to rise 4% this year, because we “need” so much stuff.
But, really, what is necessary for Christmas to be Christmas? It’s not what the commercials tell us. Stuff in wrapping paper doesn’t make Christmas real. It’s not decorations or the tree. And even though Normal Rockwell has idealized “family” as necessary for Christmas, those whose families have changed over the year can still experience all that is necessary for a real Christmas. After all, whose birthday is it, anyway?
Jesus is the only thing required for a holy and joy-filled Christmas. And yet, in our modern society, we’ve almost eliminated Jesus from his own birthday! For most people today, Jesus is an after-thought at Christmas. For the average family, making time for prayer and worship takes a backseat to time spent shopping, decorating, making cookies and partying.
And yet, the thing we need most is Jesus. Jesus offers hope and healing. Jesus opens the gate to eternal joy and peace. Knowing Jesus is better than having a guardian angel (see Hebrews 1:4). Having been born into human flesh, and having lived our life, Jesus has become the source of eternal salvation (Heb. 5:9). The world doesn’t need a new iPad. The world needs Jesus.
That needs to be our message, not only at Christmas, but all year long. As the church and as individuals our message must be the same. People need Jesus in their lives. That’s what’s really necessary.
As individuals Christians, we need to find ways to help others realize what’s necessary. We need to find ways to help our neighbors discover the hope and healing that Jesus offers. We need to learn to talk about Jesus to those who are “not here, yet.” We need to be creative in the ways we offer Jesus to the world around us.
What’s necessary for Christmas to be Christmas? Only one thing. God’s gift to us. If Jesus isn’t necessary, God wouldn’t have given him. The world needs Jesus. We need to share him. After all, whose birthday is it, anyway?
Have a blessed and holy Christmas,

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