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Redeemer Church

Redeemer Church
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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Merry Cliche' Christmas

I don't know about you, but Christmas has always been an exciting season for me. From an early age we are conditioned to equate Christmas with presents, breaks from school and work, good food and lots of it. And in recent years, the holiday also brings the annual battle between the secular and religious entities that some choose to fight to "Keep Christ in Christmas". For myself, that is not a hill I am willing to die on. However, another tag line that has been so often used as to become cliche' is the subject of my blog today. I would like to challenge your response when you are encouraged to "Remember the Reason for the Season".

When I heard this incitement in the past, my thought process was as follows: "Jesus is the reason for the season and I know that. I know that He became a baby and lived a life so that he could die for me and save me from my sins. So remembering the reason for the season means that I should think of the sacrifice He made for me and celebrate the life I have in Him."

Did you notice what I did there? Yes, perhaps I hit a part of the "reason for the season", but it was only the part that revolved around me. If I could come up with the most selfish version of Christmas, that was it. If I may be so blunt and honest, I almost turned such a message into just another present, no different from the rest under the tree. Notice that my thought process did not call me to any change of behavior. Instead, I turned it into an item to enjoy for a bit then put in the closet for a rainy day. I boiled the Nativity down to mere sentiment that just gave me "warm fuzzies" and required nothing of me.

But the Gospel and His advent were for the poor, the needy, the broken, the orphan, the widow, and the outcast. He was born among shepherds, He lived among tax collectors and prostitutes, and He died between thieves. He came for the broken, for "it is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick".

So, yes, Jesus came for me, but He also came for my insufferable, alcoholic neighbor. He came for you, but He also came for those like the boy who took nine lives in my sister's mall last week. He came for the panhandler holding a sign on the street corner. He came for my boss who fears the future. If I may be so bold, Christmas is much more about saving the lost and helping the needy than it is about patting Christians on the back. Don't turn the advent of Christ and Christmas day into just another sentimental thought. Don't turn it into just another superficial
"gift" that you receive and feel "warm fuzzies". Don't be cliche', but rather let the season change how you look at the people around you and how you think about Christmas.

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