Good. Now that I have your attention, allow me to explain my line of thinking. Often around the Christmas holiday, I hear many Christians forcibly downplay the idea of the gift frenzy. With good intentions, we desire to “Keep Christ in Christmas.” So, rather than getting caught up in the craziness of the giving and getting gifts, some of us opt out for more of a “spiritual” aspect of celebrating Christmas that has less to do with giving and getting gifts and more to do with other less tangible ways of celebrating. And not only that, but some of us even crusade against the craziness of the gift frenzy. We point out the shallowness and superficiality of so many others around us that seem to have lost the real meaning of Christmas. Again, all with good intentions…but I think we are off just a bit. And here’s why.
I am reminded of the story in the Bible when Josiah (a jewish king) found the Book of the Law hidden in the temple. The Israelite people had been without it for so many years and had somehow forgotten about God and the fact that they were His chosen people. When they found it, they partied like a rock star!!! Really. They celebrated in the biggest and greatest fashion. They held a passover feast that was the biggest and baddest feast that the nation had ever seen. Why? Because they realized that God was with them and that they were His chosen people. They went all out! Nothing was too great of an expense in their celebration. They realized the greatest and most amazing truth of all time…God was with them.
I am reminded of the story of David (another jewish king), perhaps the greatest king ever that God appointed. After a long time of the ark of the covenant (which represented the presence of God) being removed from Jerusalem, the Israelites finally were able to capture it back from the people who had taken it and they were now bringing it back to Jerusalem. When David heard that the ark was being brought back to Jerusalem, he partied like a rock star! Really. He was so excited that he stripped off all of his robes and ran up and down the streets of Jerusalem singing and dancing like crazy. Why? Because he and the people realized what the return of the ark represented…the return of God with them. And the fact that God was with them was the greatest reason to ever have such a celebration.
David recognized the amazing gift of the ark of the covenant being in the city of Jerusalem. And in response to this, he threw a huge party and distributed gifts to all the people there. His wife, Michal saw all this crazy gift frenzy, and she got mad at David and despised him. She bascially looked at how crazy David was acting in front of the people and she thought that he was “overdoing” it. She didn’t “get it.” She didn’t understand why David and the people should be so excited. And David’s response to her putting him down was this: “I will become even more undignified than this.”
And I am reminded of the little town of Bethelem, where those walking in darkness had seen a great light. Where wise men came from afar to seek out the newborn king. Where shepherds in the field were met with angelic hosts from heaven proclaining the absolute greatest news that the world has ever known…God is with us. Emmanuel has come. The wise men gave of their very best gifts. The shepherds went off rejoicing and praising God. It was definitely a time to party like a rock star! Really.
Christian, Christmas is THE time to go all out! It is THE time to be most undignified in our celebration. It is THE time when we get to celebrate the greatest most amazing truth that has changed our lives, Emmanuel…God with us!!!! God loved us so much that He gave His only son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. He has given us the gift of life. He has given us the gift of His amazing promises. He has given us the gift of hope. He has given us the gift of love.
Let’s remember that we love Him because He first loved us. He drew us in by His lovingkindness. He is the one who has initiated this divine romance that we now share and will share for eternity.
Christmas is ALL about the presents! He gave us so many gifts as a way to bring us to Him, but most importantly He became Emmanuel…God with us. We should be so overjoyed that it makes us want to go out and buy gifts and give and give and give as a way of celebrating this wondrous gift that has been given to us. We should also be overjoyed in receiving gifts that are given to us because it is just another expression of the greatest gift that He has given to us.
Why should we be like Michal who thought that David was overdoing it in the celebration? If we as Christ followers are the ones who know what the Christmas season is all about, shouldn’t the people of the world who don’t know this great reason be more like Michal? Shouldn’t they be the ones that look at us and say, “Don’t you think you’re getting a little carried away in all this gift frenzy?” But instead, sometimes it looks reversed. We, the treasured and beloved of God, who have been given the greatest reason to party, are the ones who look at those in the world, whose eyes have not been opened to His glorious grace, and despise them because they are buying like crazy and getting all caught up in the frenzy of the holiday. And we try to get back to the meaning of Christmas by avoiding such frenzy.
But I say we are missing it. We should be the ones that are in the frenzy. We should be the ones like Josiah and the people celebrating the greatest passover ever. We should be the ones like David dancing and praising God up and down the street. It should be the world that looks at us and says that we are getting carried away and out of control. David didn’t care about what Michal thought. His focus was on His God whom he celebrated with great abandonment. We should be doing the same.
Yes, for the Christian, Christmas is without a doubt all about the presents. So, let’s not be like Michal and despise the act of buying presents and celebrating like crazy. Let’s not try to subdue or avoid the frenzy. Let’s turn it up and show the world that we have every reason imaginable to be crazy in our celebration of the greatest gift that has ever been given…God with us. So, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to put on my rock boots now. I hope to see you at the party!!! – Cody