Nails on a tree

Christmas is my favorite time of year, hands down. I love the songs. I love the cold weather. I love the decorations, the ornaments and the lights. I love the food and flavors. I love everything about it. And I love that the whole world comes to a stop to celebrate, even if they don’t really understand what they’re celebrating anymore.

I have known Christ-followers who don’t celebrate Christmas, stating that it has too many worldly influences in it, but I don’t go for that. And I’m not enough of a historian to be able to debate or rebuff any of their claims. All I know is that for all my life Christmas has been a day to celebrate and remember the birth of Christ, and that’s what it will stay for my family. We exchange gifts in remembrance of the Gift that was given, and we decorate a tree in remembrance of another Tree.

Nail ornament on a Christmas tree at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Nail ornament on a Christmas tree at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verses are Colossians 2:13-14.

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.

If there’s one part of the Christmas season that I dislike, it’s the materialism. It’s the commercialism. Granted, I understand the need for it, to a certain extent. I’m not one of those people who will say all the commercialism of Christmas needs to go away. Without the commercial aspect of Christmas, much of our economy would suffer. Most retailers rely on the Christmas season to break even.

But people tend to obsess. Have you notice that? And it can’t just be about giving gifts to each other? Christmas has become about getting gifts. It’s become self-centered and focused on things, the biggest and best and most extravagant. And in spite of all our culture’s wishy-washy reminders to embrace the spirit of the holidays or to remember the spirit of Christmas, nobody really seems to be able to shake the commercialized notion of big screen TVs and iPad minis.

And that’s where Christ-followers need to step up. That’s where we need to be a shining beacon, reminding the world that we celebrate Christmas for more than the best and biggest. We celebrate Christmas because more than 2,000 years ago, the Son of God came to Earth to be born in dirt and filth for a single purpose–to die for us. Jesus came to bring us hope and rescue. God sent Him as a sacrifice to save us, to be nailed to a cross, to die a horrible death so that we could be free. That’s what Christmas is about. That’s why we celebrate.

Strange how easily that message can get lost in the hustle and bustle of Black Friday shopping.

So don’t forget this year. Make an effort to remember why Christmas exists. Make an effort to celebrate what truly matters this season. And when you decorate your tree (or see it, since both of mine are already up), remember why it’s there. Christmas trees should remind us of the Cross, the other tree where Christ died for us so many centuries ago.

I guarantee if you look at Christmas like that, you’ll never see Christmas trees the same way again.

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