Wherever you live in the world, there is plenty to see at Christmas. And while I love our American Christmas traditions, I have to admit that a lot of what catches my eye has precious little to do with the true reason for the season. Let’s take a look at how we can put our focus where it should be this Christmas.
Do you see what I see?
Christmas is definitely the season of lights. The first Christmas light was the beautiful star the Magi saw “in the East” and which they followed to find the Christ Child to worship Him with their gifts (Matthew 2:1-2). As great as that heavenly light was, it was just a glimmer compared to the Light that came into the world in a humble Bethlehem birthplace: “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:9).
You have probably been to a candlelight service on Christmas Eve where one candle lights others – which in turn gives light to other candles – until the entire church is aglow. That is a picture of the true Light of the world who came to bring light to every person in the world. The problem with this beautiful event is this: Once all the candles are lit, the single candle that was the original source of light can no longer be seen in the brightly lit room.
That’s what happens at Christmas. The one true Light that came into the world, Jesus Christ, often gets overshadowed by the festivities, embellishments and excitement of the Christmas season. For those of us who know He is the true Light and who know He is there, it becomes our responsibility to ask ourselves and others, “Do you see Who I see?” It is our task to keep our Christmas eyes focused on the Babe who was born to save us from our sin. He is the Christ of Christmas!
Can we see Who we should see?
It appears that many people have lost sight of the one true Light. Sadly, even Christians celebrate the fun traditions of Christmas without sharing the religious significance.
But are we really celebrating Christmas if we eliminate the religious significance of the day? Not really – because Christmas is Christ. The music, meals and merriment are fine as long as we stay clearly focused on the object and purpose of Christmas: Jesus Christ.
How can we stay focused? Let me give you four simple words that might help: The mission, message, method and meaning of Jesus at this and every Christmas.
- Mission of Jesus. He said it best Himself: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). As we celebrate Christmas, let’s ask God to help us see the needs of those around us whom Jesus came to save.
- Message of Jesus. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). There is no better way to reflect the true Light of Christmas than by sharing the love of Christ.
- Method of Jesus. Jesus Himself stayed focused throughout His life: “And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray” (Mark 6:46). Jesus lived a life of prayerful communion with God, right up until His last breath (Luke 23:34). Don’t let the busyness of this Christmas season keep you from spending time in prayer.
- Meaning of Jesus. And by this, I mean the meaning of Jesus for you. Remember what Jesus has done for you, what He means to you. John 6:68 says, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” The lights of Christmas can never give us what the true Light of Christmas can.
Make an effort this Christmas season, along with your family, to see Who deserves to be seen. It’s all a matter of focus – and focusing is a deliberate act. Don’t let the world dictate your focus. Instead, remember Christ’s mission, message, method and meaning. Let the light of Christ in your heart overshadow all the other lights you see this Christmas. When your perspective is on the Christ of Christmas, the world will see Him through you.
God bless you this Christmas as you celebrate the Reason for the season.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif., and the founder and host of Turning Point for God.)