The Reason For The Season
by Rob Dunne
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17:3
On all Hallows Eve, my wife Kellie and I had to pick some things up at BJ’s. Much to my dismay, they had a bunch of Christmas stuff out. The commercialization of the holiday is causing retailers to push Christmas on us earlier and earlier. This would not be so bad if we spent the time reflecting on the reason for the season. However, our attention tends to be focused on trying to buy the perfect gift for others or what they are getting us.
Why do we celebrate Christmas? At its core, it truly is about giving and receiving. The gift that we receive does not come wrapped in fancy paper topped with a decorative bow. Rather, it came in the form of a newborn baby wrapped in swaddling clothes.
The birth of Jesus was only the beginning. He modeled an extraordinary way of life. Each day started by communicating with God. I suspect that God gave Jesus His marching orders every morning. Then the day was spent loving people. He healed the sick, cast out demons and raised the dead.
Jesus also taught people what life in God’s kingdom looks like. If someone offends or hurts you, forgive them. How many times do you forgive? Infinitely. When someone strikes you on the cheek, don’t respond in kind – turn and offer them the other. Pray for your enemies and bless those who spitefully use you. How on earth is this possible?
The lifestyle that we are called to live is impossible. Human beings are too selfish to live life in this manner. This is where the true gift comes in to play. Jesus became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. As He sat down at the right hand of God, it made it possible for the Holy Spirit to come live on the inside of us. Saying yes to the gift that Jesus offers us makes it possible for us to receive new life. We die to who we once were and we are born again.
Spiritual birth is not the same as the one that we experienced when our mother’s water broke and we first came in to the world. Being born again is where we are given a brand new spirit and we are joined with the Spirit of God. This is what makes living like Jesus possible. In the same way that Jesus was able to talk to God every morning, we can communicate with God. The selfishness that once dictated our actions is replaced with the love of God. Our needs, wants and desires are erased and our thoughts turn to the needs of other people. That is kingdom living.
Christmas allows us to reflect on God’s goodness. We remember that Jesus became a man and lived a selfless life. His death allows us to be reconciled to God. That is the gift of Christmas. It is not forced upon us. Rather, we have to receive it freely. It is then our delight to share the gift with others so they too can experience God’s love.
In the busyness of the season, take time to reflect on the gift of eternal life that Jesus paid for you to enjoy and share that gift with the world around you. After all, that is the true reason for the season.