Did you know that over 1.9 BILLION Christmas cards are sent each year? Yep, that’s the most of any holiday - not even Valentine ’s Day comes close.
And the Bah- Humbug thing to me is that the vast majority of the cards are just.plain.wrong. Especially when it comes to their portrayal of the Reason for the Season!
Now… my heart is not an empty hole, in fact I really don’t have an ounce of Grinchyness in me. But I am concerned about the blatant and misleading perception that the covers of Nativity Christmas cards have created. So if you’ll indulge me for a moment, here is a brief overview of my rant.
• Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus did not have freaky looking halos around their heads
• 3 Kings? No Kings - they were, in fact, scholars and astronomers from Persia
• But were they at the birth? Nope…they arrived over a year later…at Jesus’ HOUSE!
• Ox and Lambs keeping time? Ah, no - you see farm animals don’t have opposable thumbs for drumsticks, plus people don’t give birth with farm animals around. Besides Jesus wasn’t born in a-
• Barn… Most likely He was birthed in a cave used for shelter, not a structure hosting a petting zoo.
• Little Drummer Boy? Wait, that’s Justin Bieber - right?
Anyway, I think you get the point. We’ve sanitized, Santa-fied and commercialized our image of the Holy Night into an ordinary night.
But in reality, this was the Silent Night that was the hush before the spiritual storm that shattered the veil between heaven and earth when angelic armies cried out a victory song: “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased” (Luke 2:14, NLT).
But when we take this lightning in a bottle moment and trim it down into a syrupy sweet Hallmark portrait, we end up overstuffing our stomachs and overindulging our materialistic fetishes because that’s what Christmas has been reduced to.
We box up and tie a neat little ribbon on the event that split that calendar and proclaimed that Immanuel - God in the flesh - has been unleashed on our planet!
And what’s worse, our Christmas card lenses blind us from the glorious and life changing proclamation made by the angels:
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior-yes, the Messiah, the Lord-has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! (Luke 2:8-11, NLT).
I believe we should be more like the shepherds who received this announcement. By the way -these guys in no way, shape or form resemble Linus with a blanket asking “Lights, please?”. The shepherds of that day were the outcast outsiders who were considered the lowlifes and losers. But the High King of Heaven entrusted them with the message that-
Had been born that day in the little town of Bethlehem.
These three titles were being used at that time to describe Caesar Augustus - the Roman Emperor - but the angels revealed the true nature of this seemingly insignificant baby lying in a manger. What the world needed to know was that a new King - the King of Kings - had come to establish His rule and reign. The Savior who had been chosen by God before the world is now here to deliver all people from the tyranny of sin and death.
Wouldn’t you have thought that a message as crucial as this would have been given to the rich, the powerful, and the influential? Yet God picks those who weren’t even allowed in the Temple to worship Him and to proclaim the message that “God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them!” (Revelation 21:3, NLT).
And what was their reaction to the announcement of the first Christmas and seeing the Christ Child?
“After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished” (Luke 2:17-18, NLT).
This Christmas, let’s take a lesson from the poor and dejected shepherds whose entire world was transformed with just one glance at the real Nativity scene. Let’s feel the excitement that welled up inside those men when they realized that God chose them out of all humanity to spread the word that the Word made flesh had come to save the world.
Merry Christmas friends…may we be a living Christmas card that advances THE Cause and tells the real story of our Savior’s birth!
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
Statistics show that more people attend church this time of year than any other week. The Christmas season creates a huge opportunity to bring up the birth of Christ, especially when you have the interesting facts about what really happened. Don’t let this chance fly by you like Santa and his reindeer - get out and talk to people like the shepherds did!
Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Jesus, thank you that You came to earth as a baby so that you could experience every aspect of life on this planet you created. Praise You for being the Savior, the Messiah, and the Lord. Help us to be as excited as the shepherds on the first Christmas, and give us the boldness to share the gospel with our friends.
Read: Matthew 1:23.
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means ‘God is with us.’” (NLT)
Get: Check out this humorous “Silent Monks” Christmas video on YouTube and let it inspire you to find your own creative ways to get the word out about Jesus this Christmas season!
What other ways can you apply this Soul Fuel?