“When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 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 v 15-18
Lately you may have heard the Band Aid song “Do they know it’s Christmas” rather a lot. I know I have. Just last night I was was at ‘A night with the Chris Moyles show’ and had a massive, epic sing-a-long to it with 1000 other people, all led by the Chris Moyles team. It was a good night!
In it there is a question asked, “Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?”, and later on an instruction is given to the listener – “Let them know it’s Christmas time”. Now while that was originally written about famine victims in Africa, I think it can also be applied to our generation, to the people around you.
First of all, do they know it’s Christmas? Do you? Sure everyone celebrates Xmas, but what about Christmas? Now you might be thinking ‘what’s the difference? Isn’t Xmas just a shortened form of Christmas?’ Well, what was taken out of Christmas to shorten it to Xmas? Christ. That is the difference. Xmas has Christ removed. And for so many people that is what they have done. In the press and in advertising the imagery of ‘Christmas’ is not usually of the nativity, but of Santa, reindeer and snow. If you listen to the radio or watch music channels you’ll hear plenty of songs about snow, presents and Santa, but how many actually mention Jesus, the reason for the season? And if you go out Christmas shopping the only message shoved down your throat is not one of ‘peace and goodwill to all men’ but one of ‘Buy this! Buy that! Spend, spend, spend!’ If you read the papers you may even have seen stories about councils rebranding Christmas tree lights “Winter Lights” to avoid offending minority groups.
We need to reclaim Christmas for what it is, the celebration of the birth of the Son of God, not a celebration of the wonders of commercialization. In the days ahead we need to show people that at this time of year there is something more important than getting that DVD boxset you wanted. We need to follow the example of the shepherds and be so amazed by the fact that God sent His only Son to be born as a man, and live to die on our behalf that we tell everyone about it. We need to let the world know that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. It’s not about Santa. It’s not about presents. It’s about Christ. As the Third Day song ‘Christmas Like a Child’ goes:
“It’s all about Jesus, asleep in the straw, This infant, this King, this saviour for all”.
That is the message we need to take out this Christmas period, that Jesus was born, and that he lived to be a saviour for all, regardless of age, sex, race, past life, previous beliefs, Jesus was born for everyone.
But we can only do that if Jesus is the reason for the season for us. So I want to leave you with some questions.
When you get up on Christmas day, what will your first actions be? Will you be rushing to your presents, or will you take time to thank God for the most amazing gift he has given you?
What are you more concerned about – getting the present you want, or helping others get the gift of salvation?
As you open your presents and see what you’ve got will you spare a thought for those who will be going without, or will you be so caught up in materialism that you “forget”?
As you eat your Christmas dinner will you have compassion for the hungry, as Jesus instructs us to, or will you just be focused on filling your stomach?
Will celebrating the birth of Jesus be the most important part of the day for you, or is it the TV special that you are looking forward to most?
So, Do you know it’s Christmas, or will you be celebrating Xmas at the church of the High Street Mall? And are you prepared to let the world know it’s Christmas, or are you content to let them forget about the reason behind the season and turn it into Xmas?