There is a great danger this Christmas season of missing the point. And I’m not referring simply to idolatrous consumption and materialism. I’m talking about Christmas religiosity. It is very easy around this time to set up our Nativity scenes, host our Christmas pageants and cantatas, read the Christmas story with our families, attend church every time the door is open, and insist to ourselves and others that Jesus is the reason for the season, and yet not see Jesus. With the eyes of our heart, I mean.

I suppose there is something about indulging in the religious Christmas routine that lulls us into thinking we are dwelling in Christ when we are really just set to seasonal autopilot, going through the festive and sentimental motions. Meanwhile the real person Jesus the Christ goes neglected in favor of his plastic, paper, and video representations. Don’t get distracted from Jesus by “Jesus.” This year, plead with the Spirit to interrupt your nice Christmas with the power of Jesus’ gospel.

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5 thoughts on “Don’t Let Christmas Distract You From Jesus”

  1. Annie says:

    This is super interesting.

    “Meanwhile the real person Jesus the Christ goes neglected in favor of his plastic, paper, and video representations. Don’t get distracted from Jesus by “Jesus.”

    I am a homeschool mom, and this year we are going through ancient history (second time around for me); that includes Egypt, Greece and currently, Rome. This is where the value of repetion comes clearer. Sometimes it takes a while for things to come together cohesively in my brain. It is pretty well known that the December 25th assignment of Christ’s birth is arbitrary; we don’t actually know when He was born. The early church couldn’t get the pagans to give up the celebrations of Saturnalia +/or the birth of Mithras, and the winter solstice ect., so they sort of hijacked them for Christianty. (If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em) An even cursory look at these traditions hits awfully close to home to our own. The church has been fighting an uphill battle on this for thousands of years. The Puritans, in particular, waged war on them and banned such celebrations. In the end, they lost. The people love their festivals (bread and circus?).

    The interesting part for me is in understanding this, I am less inclined to try to “take it back” for Jesus. I no longer see the need, as it wasn’t His to begin with. It doesn’t bother me like it used to, the way the world just doesn’t see Christ in Christmas. To be clear, I am not inclined to abstain from them either. But I will need to be intentional to finding a better way to spend my Decembers henceforth. I like the idea I heard somewhere recently, to think of Advent as something more akin to Lent, and to look forward to the Second Coming more than looking back to the first.

    John Piper has a great sermon from a few years back on Santa Clause being the ideal representation of works-based righteousness and what is more religious than that?

    I guess, I appreciate what you are saying here Jared, that it’s difficult to find the gospel in most of our traditions and mostly, it just distracts me from Jesus. Isn’t that ironic?

  2. anonymous says:

    “With the eyes of our heart, I mean.”

    amen. day 13 advent reflection: Come let us adore Him

    Phil 2: 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    Ps 95:6 Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

    Eph 1:18 I pray that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened, so that we will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19a and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

  3. Mark Kearney says:

    @ Annie While I agree that we are not a 100% sure when Christmas is, I do believe we should celebrate Christ’s birth by giving as God gave him to the world. I agree with you Jarred that it has just become a commercial exploitation of people, however every year real Christians keep harping on about it and nothing ever changes.

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Jared C. Wilson

Jared C. Wilson is the pastor of Middletown Springs Community Church in Middletown Springs, Vermont. You can follow him on Twitter.

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