“I hate, I despise your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Amos 5:21-24
So this may not be the most uplifting text of Scripture, but in reading it I felt a personal warning to my own heart about the upcoming “feast” of Christmas. There are so many traditions and fun things I have added to the celebration of Jesus’s birthday that sometimes the very purpose FOR Christmas is crowded out by the busyness OF Christmas. I say that “Jesus is the reason for the season” but then I live as if He is one of many reasons and is quickly moving down the list in light of more “pressing issues” like buying presents and baking cookies. I know in my head that it’s all about the birth of my Savior, but I’m amazed how quickly my heart clings to plans, preparations and activities…pursuing joy in them as if they can actually satisfy my heart.
The truths in the Word of God call me to come and worship Christ, the King. Yet instead of worshipping Him, I am ignoring Him…all the while convincing myself it’s because I am preparing for His “big day.” Jesus wants my heart more than He wants a fancy feast. Jesus wants my adoration more than Christmas carols sung on tune but without thought. Jesus wants my devotion and obedience more than He wants a life consumed with the festivities of one day. Jesus wants all of me to be wrapped up in all that He is, no matter how many other presents I might wrap throughout the month.
Jesus did not come to earth so we could celebrate Christmas. He came to earth so that He could be crucified and conquer the grave. He came to earth to redeem us and make us right before God so we could be adopted into His family, bearing His name and living for His glory. THAT is what makes celebrating Christmas one of the highlights of our year. THAT is why we should decorate with enthusiasm, sing with gusto and give with generosity. Jesus didn’t just come to visit us, like many relatives do at the holidays. He came to live among us so that He could ultimately live in us: Emmanuel, God with us!
May we not lose sight of this glorious truth and may this Christmas be the sweetest of all as we take every opportunity to celebrate all that God has accomplished for us in His Son Jesus!
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15