It would be awesome if at some point this Christmas season, #BeChristThisChristmas could trend on twitter. These two cover photos could help people start thinking about how they can do something more at Christmas than complain about store signs and school plays that don’t proselytize.
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My perspective on waiting for Christmas was forever changed when my wife was expecting our first daughter. During my first Advent as a pastor, I was not only expecting the coming of the Christ child, but was eagerly anticipating the coming of my first daughter (who would be born in January).
Anticipating the coming of a child is like no other kind of waiting I’ve ever experienced. We did our best to prepare. We put together a crib. We stocked up on diapers. We were given clothes and books and toys and countless well-wishes and prayers. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of our family and friends. As we waited for the child to come we knew that we were surrounded by an entire church family that was eagerly waiting with us.
It was appropriate that the process of giving birth began in church. At the end of a Bible study, surrounded by a few of our closest friends, my wife knew that the baby was coming. About 18 hours later we were holding our daughter.
I held that precious, fragile, resilient little baby in my arms and I knew one thing: I was not ready.
There is no way to be totally ready for a baby to come. There are certainly different levels of preparedness, but no one can anticipate, guess or even imagine what it is like to suddenly be entrusted with a child. In that moment I knew that I would do anything – any thing – to protect that child and her mother. She changed my perspective. She changed my goals. She changed my dreams, my hopes, my fears and my worries. For the rest of my life my joy would be magnified by her smile, my despair would be multiplied by her tears, and my peace would depend on her safety. A baby changes everything – and that is the message of Christmas.
The birth of Jesus changed everything. The eternal Word of God was made flesh, and nothing would ever be the same.
At Advent we are called to prepare the way of the Lord. There are many things that we can do to prepare the way of the Lord. I’ve been tweeting #BeChristInChristmas with ideas and ways to work for the Kingdom of God during the Christmas season. We can read the Bible, pray, study, worship, serve, and wait. There are so many ways that we can prepare for the coming of the Christ child, but the fact remains is that we can never be fully ready.
The birth of Jesus changed everything, and as we move through Advent my prayer is that Christmas can break through the hearts and minds of all who would separate themselves from God. Allow God to change your perspective. Allow God to change your goals. Open up and let Jesus change your dreams, your hopes, your fears and your worries. Allow your Joy to be magnified by the glory of God. Invite the Holy Spirit to weep with you in your times of despair. May the peace of Christ – the peace that surpasses all understanding – be with you. This Christmas, Jesus can change everything.
There are so many ways that we can be the body of Christ. The holiday season is a difficult time for so many. As a Christian, is there any better time to share the love of Jesus than on the day we remember his birth? So let’s share ideas and be inspired by the ways that we can be Christ this Christmas. If you are a twitter user, use #BeChristThisChristmas, because our actions speak louder than words. What are you doing to be Christ this Christmas?
I tell people, “Happy Holidays.” Does that make me any less of a Christian? I don’t think it does, but apparently some people do. As we approach the holiday season, I am bracing myself for the onslaught of “Keep Christ in Christmas” slogans on facebook. I decided to make a preemptive strike, and created this picture.
It seems to have struck a chord. Maybe I’m not the only one that is tired of the righteous indignation of people that think that there is a war on Christmas because a department store puts up a sign that says “Happy Holidays.”
Believe me, I want to keep Christ in Christmas, but I’m not looking for Christ at JC Penny or Kohls. If I want to find Christ in Christmas I will look to a local food pantry or a wardrobe ministry. I will look to a homeless shelter or domestic abuse shelter. If I want to find Christ in Christmas I will go to worship with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I will sing the songs of the ages, and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to the world. I will invite my neighbor to worship with me, or I will read the Bible and pray.
Nothing can keep Christ out of Christmas if I endeavor to be the body of Christ this Christmas. So please, spare me the “war on Christmas” rhetoric.
Do you want to know who is waging a war on Christmas? Do you want to know who is spoiling the birth of Christ? It is not the people that have the gall to greet you with “Happy Holidays.” The ones waging a war on Christmas are those that think greed and discrimination are Christian values. They are the ones that think that performance fleece, ipads, diamond earrings, and flatscreens have anything to do with the birth of Jesus Christ.
And before I get too carried away with this rant, let me pause for confession. I know that I can get caught up in the consumerism of it all. I enjoy buying presents for my family and my daughter. I enjoy receiving presents, and am already thinking about “What I want for Christmas.” I know that I will enjoy a holiday in a warm home with plenty of food, and a few gadgets that I certainly don’t need. But I’m going to try.
I’m going to try and live simpler. I’m going to try and seek the true gift of Christmas – the peace of Jesus Christ. I am going to pray more. I am going to read more. I’m going to give a little more. I’m going to sin, but I’m also going to forgive. My economic gain or lower prices will come at the cost of another, but I’m also going to do justice. I’m going to be selfish but I’m also going to show mercy. I’m going to be very happy if this little picture catches on and goes viral, but I’m also going to try and walk humbly with my God.
I’m going to do all of those things because that, I think, is the true meaning of Christmas.
On twitter use #BeChristInChristmas to share how you are working for the Kingdom of God this Christmas season.