By Joe Torosian
“God rest ye merry, gentlemen
…Let nothing you dismay…
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day…
To save us all from Satan’s power
…When we were gone astray
…O tidings of comfort and joy,…
Comfort and joy
…O tidings of comfort and joy”
Why are we in such a hurry to get Christmas behind us?
In a podcast the other day, I heard this question raised: “Why are we so upset that the Christmas season appears to be starting earlier and earlier?”
I had a great Christmas season (possibly one of the best Christmas seasons of my life), and I wasn’t visited by three ghosts. I didn’t get a chance to see what the world would be like if I had never been born. I didn’t get season seats for the Mets, and I didn’t unwrap a gift with a million dollars inside.
But what I got from Christmas was Christmas, and it was more than sufficient.
(I know what you’re thinking; “Ugh! Sunday School answer!)
The expressions “Jesus is the reason for the season” and/or “Let’s remember the true meaning of Christmas” have never moved the needle for me. Neither does the tireless, endless, pointless perpetual claims of, “Christmas is just too commercial these days.”
Instead, celebrating Christmas was like coming to the Communion table. I come to the Communion table not expecting some miraculous, unbelievable, or transformative thing to occur. I come to the Communion table—while drenched in the everyday milieu I live in—to remember the miraculous, the unbelievable, and the transformative thing that already occurred at the cross and in the empty tomb.
It grounds me to the reason for my faith and serves as a lifeline to hoist me out of the raging sea of Churchianity.
Christmas grounds me, and more so this year than any I can remember before. I experienced no miraculous, nothing unbelievable, or transformative. But it raised into soul and spirit, again, the moment when Christ came and changed history.
Everything changes with the first advent of Jesus…Everything!
You can take it back to Babel when the Lord confuses the language and scatters the population, but reserves a people for himself….And eventually through Abraham comes one who redeems the entire world…And by the blood of Christ, we all become a child of Abraham.
Without Christ, the thought of living an Old Testament experience is a bummer. With Christ everything is hope…Everything is joy…Everything points forward…We are not shackled by sin but freed by His grace.
We cannot get to Easter without Christmas.
So, since Christ changed everything historically, and He changed everything for me personally, why should I not be joyful eternally?
He came, and that coming is just as relevant in July as it is in January. Like the cross and the resurrection is relevant every single day for a believer—and we take Communion to remember it—December 25th is the great reminder about the when and why of our Lord’s coming.
We talk, and share, and wish, we could have feelings of love, family, forgiveness, and endearment all year long…And then we have a sense of letdown when the lights and decorations get packed away.
But we shouldn’t have a letdown…And we shouldn’t dread the season…The best thing for a believer to do is to extend the season.
There’s an enemy that robs us of our joy. I believe there’s an enemy that knows he’s going down and is trying to drag all of us down with him. I don’t know about you, but I love doing the opposite of what is expected of me. I love to throw presumptions about me, and who I am, and who I’m expected to be out the window by zigging when the world expects me to zag.
So the idea of putting away the tactile items of Christmas; the tree, the lights, and the decorations are not a big deal.
However, I will not put away the joy, the peace, the family, the forgiveness, the endearments…and the marvelous truth of our King’s first advent. The enemy may, or may not, feel a sense of shame about who he is, but I will not be ashamed of the One I belong to. The One who came for me, the One who died for me, the One who rose for me…The One who loves me.
Why should we ever do what the world, the enemy, desires us to do? Why should we clam up about the most significant event in history? (Yes, again, I tie Christmas directly to Easter. It is all part of the same story.) Why should we be silent about the One who died so we wouldn’t have to?
The cars we drive will age and wear and so will this physical tent we live in. And just like those cars that have become run down and eventually stop working, so will our physical tent…But we won’t die…Like getting a new car, we’ll get the new body. A body we don’t deserve, but a body He came on Christmas with the intention to pay for.
Christmas remains relevant—spiritually/theologically—and necessary every day, of every month, of every year.
And because I believe this—with all my heart—I’m not afraid of the stupid stuff. I’m not afraid of people whining about Christmas being too commercial, the Christmas Tree being pagan, Jesus not really being born on December 25th, or Burl Ives songs starting on the radio the day after Halloween.
I’m going to embrace all of it…and attempt to express it in every moment of my life.
So, as I finish writing this on December 29th, 2018……In the present tense, I say, Merry Christmas!
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”—Romans 1:20