Is it possible we don’t do enough in our celebration of Christmas? Is the holy baby and the presents all there are? Today, AMBrewster shares four things you can do to put the Savior back into Christmas.
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Merry Christmas! I love this season and am honored that you’d spend this time with me. No doubt, things are pretty hectic right now, but God is good, and I hope this episode will be beneficial to you in the most important job you have . . . discipling your children.
Two weeks ago we discussed “Parenting Blood to Water” and discovered that born again family members are the most significant and precious relationships we have. No doubt, this is the heaviest reality weighing on many of your hearts this Christmas. Though both of my kids have made a profession of faith, I have extended family who’ve rejected the Lord, and every year I have boys in my home who are unsaved, so I understand how you feel.
Praise God for Christmas! It’s the one time of year that everyone -- including the unsaved -- enjoy hearing about and singing about the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is a fantastic season to replant the gospel and help our regenerated children grow in their faith.
But how? Though the story of the incarnation lilts through the air in nearly every mall, it so often seems impotent to change hearts. Every year the same radio stations play “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” “Away in a Manger,” “Mary, Did You Know,” “Silent Night,” and “Joy to the World.” Christmas is one of the two times most unchurched people will even consider attending a service . . . and many do, but then they return right back into their Christless lives.
So, ask yourself this: saved or unsaved, will celebrating Christmas the way everyone else does work to help our children see the light of the gospel?
I don’t believe it will, and I’d like to share with you one small, little addition you can insert into your family’s Christmas celebration that may help your children have a more realistic understanding of the baby in the manger. And for those of us who are already following Christ, it can be yet one more reminder of the significance of the incarnation.
By all means, put up the tree and wrap the presents and watch Home Alone. Take as many days off of work as you can and spend lots of time with your family. And, if you haven’t heard it, check out episode 8 about making your family time work better. In short, continue celebrating Christmas the way you have, but make this one change.
Don’t stop with the manger.
I think -- to the world -- the way we celebrate Christmas sometimes comes across like a poorly executed magic trick. You may not have looked at it this way, but I’ve spent most of my life studying illusion. I even did it professionally for awhile, but here’s the point -- in magic, making something appear or disappear is only a fraction of the whole. Amateur illusionists will poof something into existence and rely on the gimmick or the technique to amaze the audience. And often the reaction is good enough to prompt the immature magician to copy his own performance next time.
But truly amazing illusions have layers and facets, stories and patter. The gimmick or the technique is merely a small part of the intended performance.
Let’s apply this metaphor to Christmas. Yes, Christ came to this earth in a stunning display of divine power and wisdom when He was born to a virgin in fulfillment of ancient prophecies . . . but that was only the opening act of God’s heavenly story.
Jesus Christ didn’t come to this earth simply to be born to virgin in a stable. He came to live a perfect life and purchase the redemption of the human race! The virgin birth merely substantiated His coming and set the stage for all that was to follow, but -- unfortunately -- we don’t celebrate that during Christmas. We leave the rest of the story untold until Easter. But by the time the less-celebrated Easter comes around, most of the world has moved past the nativity and can’t really see the connection anymore.
Here’s what we all need this Christmas: Add the rest of the story.
Open with the birth, but take time to point to the separated life He lived. Had he not devoted Himself to perfectly obeying the Father, He never could have born our sin on the cross. And had He stayed dead, He never could have redeemed us from Satan’s grasp. But that’s exactly what He did!
There’s a purpose in the nativity. It was the opening act of the Lamb’s preparation for slaughter. Yet, when our celebration stops with the manger, we find ourselves just worshipping a baby -- not the Savior of the world, not the great I AM in human form. I believe this is one of the reasons the Roman Catholic church has put too much emphasis on Mary and given her a status she should never have had (nor would she have wanted). When we focus only on the virgin birth, it becomes easy to admire and revere and follow the adults in the story because it’s hard to relate to a baby. But they’re mere shadows to the adult that the baby would later become. But when we focus on the divine power and wisdom in the nativity, when we look forward to the cross in the stable, then the mortal characters fall away, then we’re left with nothing more than the glorious miracle of Emmanuel!
If you’d like to focus your family celebration on more than the manger this year, I’d encourage you to do these four things.
I hope your family’s Christmas will be a time of drawing close to the Lord and closer to each other. We should all come out of the Christmas season thinking and talking and acting more than Jesus.
Otherwise, what’s the point?
Click here to listen to "The Hero God Wants Your Family to Celebrate This Christmas."
Click here to listen to "A Family Christmas Bible Time."
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