Christmas without Christ?

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Many of us bemoan the fact that Christmas has become much too commercialized and that Christ is being left out of Christmas. It is an inarguable fact that the retail sector makes most of its money at Christmastime and that even those who are celebrating Christmas as the birthday of the Savior tend to get caught up in all the rushing around and buying, returning and buying again. Christmas becomes a time of high stress, and while we deplore this, the fact is that there often doesn’t seem to be much we can do about it. Have we gradually accepted that this is what Christmas is all about?

A story is told of a celebration that was held many years ago in the middle of winter to celebrate the birth of a son to a rich and important family. A great number of guests arrived and their heavy coats and furs were laid on the bed in one of the bedrooms in the mansion. Soon the party was in full swing and the celebration went on for hours. Eventually, someone asked to see the new baby, but nobody seemed to know where it was! The whole house was searched, but the child could not be found. Finally someone looked in the bedroom where the outer clothing of the guests had been piled up on the bed. Under this pile, the baby was found ... suffocated!

How tragic! And yet, how true. Is this not a picture of how Christmas is often celebrated, even among those who staunchly maintain: “Christ is the Reason for the Season?” We celebrate His birth, but nobody thinks to ask where He is. We joyously bring gifts and wish each other merriness and happiness, but what of the Child? We gather together for food and good cheer and banquets and programs, and have no time to spend alone with Him, whose birthday we are celebrating. We come to celebrate Christmas, but forget to worship, as the shepherds did on that first Christmas. Haven’t we forgotten something? Have we possibly been celebrating Christmas without Christ, and not even realized it?

This Christmas, let’s make it different. This Christmas, let’s consciously make time (yes, make time!) to be alone with Jesus. That’s right, to be alone with Jesus. To steal away and hold onto Him, to worship Him, to adore Him, to let His presence fill our hearts. To see Him in His greatness, as King of Kings and Lord of all. To meditate on why He came. To thank Him for His wonderful work of salvation. It will make for an unforgettable experience! It will be a blessing beyond compare. When the shepherds came away from having seen Him, their hearts were so full, they had to share their experience with all those around them. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had a Christmas like that this year?

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