By Paul StanleyDecember 13, 2017
Well here we are at Christmas once again. I am not too crazy about Christmas, which I am sure confuses some who know I am a pastor. What I mean when I say I am not crazy about Christmas is that I become frustrated with the way that the world just continues to commercialize the season to the point that Jesus is silently swept into the corner, only to be taken out or considered only in the form of a plastic molded nativity that spends most of its time in storage. Don't get me wrong. I like presents and parties and holiday meals just as much as the next guy, but that is not the sum total of the Christmas season.
I often feel like Charlie Brown who yells in frustration, "Can anyone tell me what Christmas is all about?" But here is the deeper reason I get so frustrated: Those who identify as "Christian" are guilty of the same thing. These are folks who should really know, but can't seem to tell anyone about it. It;s like they refuse to go beyond a surface level understanding of Jesus. Folks in the know call them "C&E Christians," meaning they are only seen in church at Christmas and Easter. All through out the year, they barely, if ever, darken the door of a house of worship, yet at Christmas, they show up and act as if everything is okay, or post memes on social media proclaiming "Jesus is the reason for the season," but the life they lead shows that they do not really follow that.
Now, you might think, "Hey man, quit judging! At least they come twice a year. that is better than never. And who are you to judge anyway?" Well, I am the pastor, and I am a fellow Christian, and I have, thanks to social media, a front row seat to the drama that is their life. All year long I see the drama, the dysfunction, the crude sexual innuendo, the eye-raising posts, the hate, the prejudices and so on. And trust me, it takes a lot to raise my eyebrows, so if they get raised it has to be really something extra-ordinary. And along with it I see the despair, the hurt, the betrayals, the pain, the loneliness, and the lack of any real joy as they struggle on their own to try and figure out this thing called life.
And yet in the midst of all the hurt, there is no mention of Jesus or a cry out for Him in those times. As I watch, I cannot help but think that if they would just truly connect to Him and submit to him (not just memes on FB), and render obedience to Him, a great deal of the suffering would go away because the behavioral changes that come with following Christ would alleviate a great deal of the junk that is causing all the pain.
Being a Christian certainly does not mean everything will be perfect in your life, however, it will alleviate some of the needless suffering we undergo that has its cause in volitional sin.
Maybe I am just turning into an old Scrooge. But I am willing to bet that if you happen to find yourself described in the above, that if you just give Jesus the gift of your life this Christmas, hope will be on the way. Life will change, and you will go from surface level religion to a full on relationship with Jesus Christ that will change your life forever. It would be wonderful to hear about how Jesus changed your life instead of hearing about all the neat toys you got for Christmas.
I really hope that this Christmas, Jesus really is the reason for you, and you experience Him in a way that you never have before, all to the glory of God.
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