Stumbling over the manger

I don’t know about you, and I don’t mean to be a big holiday downer, but this year Christmas has lost any magic or charm it may have held for me in the past. And you know what? I’m not sad about that. Because none of the magic or charm was every about Jesus. It was about pretty trees, peppermint mochas, decorations, stockings, presents, and food of course.

I used to believe that Jesus was the reason for the season. Now I’m not so sure. Yes, I get that it’s the time of year we celebrate Jesus’ birth, and if He had never been born He never could have died on the cross and rose from the dead thus providing a way of salvation for us from our sin. I also get that there’s no way He was born in December, that the early church never observed the day of His birth, and that the reality of who Jesus is is being watered down to the point that He is becoming more acceptable to mainstream culture. It’s been a long time since I have seen the phrase, “Merry Christmas” on so many big signs in so many big stores.

Jesus was born to die and to live again. More than that, Jesus was born to die, to live again, and to live in us and through us. God has provided a way for us to die to ourselves and be clean vessels for Him. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9.) Having been cleansed, we get to be continually filled with the Spirit of God. We get to be temples of the Holy Spirit walking around in this world. We get to be Jesus’ hands, feet, mouth, and face to the world around us, not expressing condemnation, but the representation of God’s love and offer of cleansing for others.

Christmas isn’t just about the baby in the manger. It’s also about the Man on the cross, the Risen Savior, the sending of the Spirit into your heart and mine, so that we can be set apart as “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” That can be simply sharing a word of comfort to someone who is hurting, to laying down your life for the Gospel.

Through all the noise and static that surrounds what happened in a barn/cave 2000 years ago, I hope that Christmas doesn’t get reduced to a nativity scene for you. My hope is that we can all put Jesus on the throne of our lives and let Him live His life through us.

Merry Christmas (and every other day of the year)!

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© Corby Stephens 2005-2018