I don’t know about you, but if I hear one more rock and roll Christmas song, I might just lose my mind. If you’re like me, you’ve been out to the nearest mega mall or your local fast food extraordinaire restaurant and have heard “Hark the Rockin’ Angels Sing” or “The Little Drumbeat Boy” over the piped-in speakers and mumbled to yourself, “That’s not quite how I remember it.”
Are those artificial trees looking a little more fake? What about those home-baked cookies? A little more store-bought in appearance? And what’s with all the “quick and easy” wrapping kits, 100-in-1 gifts you didn’t have to buy, and “Here’s your gift card—knock yourself out!” garbage?
When did Christmas become such a frenzy? When did we lose our patience and kick Christmas into a “Get it over with” gear? And here’s the worst one to hear: “I hate Christmas.”
We all are. We don’t hate Christmas. We hate what we have MADE Christmas. To many, Christmas has become an unadulterated hassle and we hardly know what to do with it anymore.
Christmas has been materialized, super-sized, dumbed-down, decked out, and big boxed. It has been icicled and covered in tinsel, it has been wrapped in garland and lights and it has been electrified to the hilt. It has been cheapened, imitated, emaciated and a gargantuan commercial effort.
Christmas has been spun-down to an exact science of mass chaos and we try desperately to pick it up and shove it into an ugly gift bag and cover it with recycled fluffy, but tattered tissue paper. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to order a custom-made Christmas on-line and not even blink twice at December 25 on the calendar. Just whiz right by it. Kind of a “cyber Christmas.”
Why? What have we DONE to Christmas? It breaks my heart to see what Christmas has become. On the one hand, Christmas has been camouflaged into something nearly unrecognizable, but on the other hand, it has become so in-your-face that it is like a left hook to the jaw.
Christmas has been so commercialized, yet so diluted there is virtually no sign of the Christ child during His birthday celebration. And I think we have our answer. The secular world has gone mad. Mad at the non-secular world, mad at the situation they have gotten themselves into, mad at each other, mad at the government, mad at law enforcement and mad at religion. They’re also mad at Christians, mad at evangelists, mad at missionaries, mad at Santa Claus and oh yes, mad at God. So mad at God that they hate Jesus.
And I think that is the substance we are looking for. The world has lost God, and they hate Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said it would happen. Jesus told us in the Gospel of John that this hatred would come. John 15:18-19 says:
“If the world hates you, you know it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of this world, but I chose you out of this world, because of this, the world hates you.”
This explains a lot.
Jesus testifies in the Gospel of Matthew: “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22).
In fact, sadly, there are innumerable times in the Bible where Jesus warns of hatred toward Him and hatred toward believers in Him. Even though He foretold this, it is difficult to understand exactly WHY people would hate Jesus and everything He stands for.
Is there an explanation for such hatred?
Not to sound cliché here, but Jesus IS the reason for the season. And that just wouldn’t be any fun would it? Having to think about a poor, lowly little baby born in a dirty animal stall all those years ago…all those shepherds trekking across the desert plains following a star that would lead them to a “king”.
Why would anyone want to think about that little boy who grew to teach in the temples, feed the hungry, heal the sick, give sight to the blind, give life to the dead, and then being crucified, an innocent man, in an agonizing death, all just so mankind can have a Merry Christmas? No, that wouldn’t be any fun at all! (Let’s just not even go there.)
Since Jesus was a tiny baby, He has been hated. Before He was BORN, He was hated. King Herod wanted to kill Him immediately, and thus began three decades of merciless and relentless attempts to “silence” the one and only Son of God…the true Messiah….the King of kings.
And this is where it gets confusing. People KNOW of the historical Jesus. They know because we have a documented record of His life. They know that He was a special individual…a Man like no other…God come to earth. People know, in their hearts of hearts, that Jesus was good, kind, fair, loving, humble, forgiving, tolerant, sinless, perfect.
And to be honest, many people actually think that yes, He probably really was the Son of God and yes, He probably did really rise from the dead. They think that…but do they believe that? Do they grasp the magnitude of that? Do they understand His sole purpose was to come to earth to set them free?
Free from their sin, free from their greed, their hatred, their bigotry, their indecency, their lying, cheating, stealing, gossiping, jealous, malicious human selves? In reality, we’ve grown so used to living in a world of dis-reality, un-reality, in-reality and non-reality that we don’t even know what is real and what isn’t anymore. And if we can’t get our own “real” lives straight, why should we care about a little bitty boy way back then who had to suffer through all that for us? That would require thanks.
That would require recognition and dedication. That would require sacrifice and holiness. That might even require selflessness. And all that would just be, well, frankly, “unrealistic.”
The unbridled hatred toward Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, has become no less than epic in the last few decades. There is no logical explanation for it, other than it is from darkness. It is a timeless and supernatural hatred. There is coming a time when this article won’t even be legally published, and Jesus’ name won’t be legally spoken. He has become, and will continue to become, the outcast, the divider, the pariah, and the disdained.
But for those of us who know and love Jesus Christ…we know we will NEVER forget what Christmas is about. Christmastime, even with all its unfortunate misguiding, is a time to look at our King’s first coming and reflect and be thankful. But even more, it is a time to look forward to His glorious second coming…and recognize that there will be judgment for those who chose to ignore his free gift to mankind and deny the very personification of holiness.
So you see…if you choose to look at Christmas as nothing but an economic extravaganza or an all-day, all-out after Christmas sale, then I’m afraid you’ve chosen to ignore the most important events in the history of the world: the birth, life, death and resurrection of the one and only Son of God, Jesus Christ. You’ve chosen to ignore the only thing that matters at all.
Do you know Him? Do you love Him and serve Him and call Him Master? Do you lift Him up to others and tell them of His mercy and saving grace? Do you proudly call His name and boldly proclaim His deity?
Or do you mock Him? Do you laugh and ridicule Him? Do you brush Him aside and belittle Him? Do you think you don’t need a Savior? Do you quietly shy away from Him and shrink back from His holiness?
He loves you anyway. And He came here to die to prove it. And His death and resurrection is the only gift you will ever need. How is that for tied up in a neat little package? He did it all for us, my friend. He did it all.
We’re nearing the ultimate Christmas my friends. One Christmas very soon, true believers in Jesus Christ will be personally laying gifts at the feet of their Savior who came to set them free. One Christmas very soon, we will celebrate Jesus’ birthday at the feast of feasts with the King of kings and Lord of lords.
One Christmas very soon, we will truly comprehend the word: Hallelujah. And one Christmas very soon, God’s greatest gift to humanity will stand before us and we will fall at His feet.
Thank you Jesus, for loving us SO much. Please keep our hearts and minds ever grateful for your mercy and grace, every minute, every day, every year. And Lord, please forgive us for patronizing and minimizing Your coming. Let us never forget your loving sacrifice for our salvation.
Your church is anxiously awaiting Your return, dear Lord! Merry Christmas! Happy Birthday, Yeshua! Oh come, oh come, Immanuel! Our souls are crying out for Your soon return, our Blessed, Blessed Hope.
We love You. We lift You up. And as Your perfect and prophetic Word promised…You came once and You ARE COMING AGAIN!
And You shall reign forever and ever! Hallelujah…Hallelujah!!