I ask myself that every year. Why are we doing this? Guys are on roofs risking life and limb to string lights. People are stressed out and trying to find the perfect something for the person that needs nothing.
Folks that never give Christ or God a second thought pretend to celebrate His birth.
It all makes no sense.
How can this feeding frenzy of materialism that we call Christmas be connected to the birthday celebration of a man that was among the most non-materialistic personalities to walk this planet?
It has to be the most incongruous religious ceremony in history.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m all for Christmas.
I put up the lights and dress up the tree, and we shower each other with unnecessary presents. I love the celebration. I’m just not sure exactly why we do it.
One day it dawned on me that there are really two Christmases in Christmas.
One is a cherished American holiday tradition. The other is a Christian memorial to a sacred event.
The American holiday tradition is built around materialism and nostalgia.
Nostalgia will tell you that Christmas is here to bring us all together. We attach words and phrases to this holiday in hopes of manufacturing some sort of deeper significance. “Christmas,” we say, “means, ‘Peace on earth. Goodwill to men.’” But those are just words lifted from the shards of the original, echoes of the old true voice of Christmas.
As an American Holiday, Christmas doesn’t bring peace. In fact, it tends to bring more stress.
A recent survey revealed that 45% of Americans would like to skip Christmas altogether because of the financial stress it creates.
Pack an extended family into a house and you can’t even get “Goodwill to kin,” much less “Goodwill to men.”
And yet, here we are. Still doing it because Christmas is a Cherished American Holiday Tradition.
The second celebration is very different. This celebration is a Treasured Christian Sacred Memorial to a historical event we call “the incarnation.”
Christmas remembers that moment in time when God removed his majestic robes, stepped from his glorified position, and squeezed himself into the form of a human being.
With the American Holiday, we tend to find ourselves asking, “Why Christmas?”
But with the Christian Memorial, we are forced once again to remember, “Why Jesus?”
Those two questions seem similar but they are miles apart.
Why Christmas is a head-scratcher. Why do we keep doing this? We like to think its about peace on earth and stuff like that, but truthfully we seem to do it because we’ve always done it.
Why Jesus is less of a question than a statement. It calls us to remember that sacred moment when God put on skin and lived among us. What did that mean? What does it mean now?
For the next two Sundays at North Monroe I want us to deal with that powerful question, “Why Jesus?” I hope you will come join us.