Written by Jesse Hove from Toronto, Ontario
At Christmas time we celebrate the arrival of our Creator, our King, and Redeemer to the world. But people at our schools, in our workplace, and sometimes in our own families don’t seem to always see its true importance, do they? Our friends get caught up in what gifts they will be giving or receiving, our families seem more interested in whether the dinner will be ham or turkey, and even our own church communities seem to fall into the trap of making Jesus’ birth about a cute baby and his donkeys.
During these times is when it is so important for us to realize that we don’t need to fight for God’s honour. We don’t need to worry about the supposed “war on Christmas” that we sometimes feel is happening against the Church. The all-powerful Lord and Creator of the universe chose to heal and rescue the world, not by declaring war on the Roman Empire that was hurting his people, or getting in arguments with those who didn’t properly understand Him, but by making Himself “nothing” by “taking on the form of a slave” and by being “born in human likeness” (Philippians 2:6-8).
Jesus really does hold “the whole world in His hands” as the classic children’s hymn declares. Colossians 1:16-17 tells us that, “all things have been created through him and for him,” and that “in him all things hold together.” This means that we can worry less about where we may think our friends and family are falling short in relation to Christ, and focus more on where He is working with them in their lives.
When we become preoccupied with gift giving, we can be reminded of the ultimate gift of Christ to the world. When the world sees Christmas as being primarily about doing good things for one another, we can be reminded that in Christ all good deeds are held together. Christ has come to the world “to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, and to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18).
When we are together with family and friends, we can be reminded of Jesus’ deep commitment to His own family and friends, even the ones like Judas and Peter who betray him.
The early Christians didn’t have it all figured out either. Peter and Paul argued, and the Church as a whole hadn’t even fully agreed on what it meant for Jesus to be both God and man yet. But God’s love and commitment to the Church remained. It grew and thrived in spite of its shortcomings.
Let’s try to focus less on where we may think our friends and families are falling short this season, and more on where we can walk alongside them to help them – and ourselves – to better see the love and healing that Jesus has introduced to the world.