It's December. If you weren't prepared for it, you are probably already swamped by the silly season and its 'happy holidays' happenings. All gears change come the first of the month when everyone prepares for their end of year celebrations.
It's the time to get bombarded by Christmas this and Christmas that. Carols invade supermarket aisles and tinsel begins to line the streets. Most people are happy enough for this superficial frosting but it's also time for person after person to start saying, and writing, "Don't forget the reason for the season."
What does this even mean though? And why repeat it so often?
It means Jesus
Whether you take Jesus' birthday as literally being December 25 or not, He is the reason for the season: we celebrate the arrival on earth of our saviour.
The story goes that Jesus was born on a starry night to the young, virgin Mary. He arrived so that one day He could die to rescue us from the sin that enslaves all and restore our relationship with God.
Repeat, because the reason for the season is important
His birth was so important that our forefathers did not ever want to forget. Without it they, and us, would have been forever without hope, lost in darkness never to see the sun of the child born. Jesus is the reason—what better way to be reminded of someone so significant than to set aside time for rejoicing in His birth?
But let us not get stuck in a vain repetition this Christmas.
The reason for the season is Jesus and important, worth repeating. However, unless we are mindful we'll walk right into the rut of cliché, which the reminder was supposed to help us out of. Remembering why we have Christmas is not enough: how we remember is what matters.
Investigate and remember with rejoicing
In a very real sense, a special moment is only as good as the heart put into it, the way it's lived and used. Imagine if we remembered our mother's birthday by sparing one, single, cold, lifeless thought—oh, yes, you exist. That's not a thought even worth counting. It's horrible. Yet something similar is often the way we think of Jesus, if we even know Him.
Thinking, Oh, yes, you exist, is a start but its dryness contrasts the deep love and abundant joy which must naturally overflow when we truly see Jesus for who He is—the light of the world, our rock and salvation.
Perhaps Jesus is a strange figure to you, a distant historical man or even, to your mind, a myth. It's worth taking the time this year, with the reminder of His birth all around, to investigate again. He really is more than a part of history and He is not a myth; He is real and alive, God-become-man: "...Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (Isaiah chapter 9, verse 6).
If you do know Jesus, rejoice! "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given..."
Let us not harden our hearts towards Jesus, the reason for the season, this Christmas.
Irenie How was rescued from darkness by the grace of God when she was running away from Him. God showed her that He is the Lord and she wants you to know this too. She works as a graphic designer in Christchurch, New Zealand. Check out some of her work on Behance and drop her a line!
Irenie How's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/irenie-how.html