Why is it that we need Christmas?
Do we really need Christmas? Or is this season simply overrated? overhyped? Filled with a mega dose of Hallmark and imaginative play on lofty, surreal ideals? It seems overmarketed at least. It is the biggest retailing event every year. Yet, why? Why do we consistently support Christmas?
On a personal note, I need Christmas. And, well, there is only one reason why I need Christmas. It starts with the beginning of the story…
Long ago…in the peacefulness of beginning, God lived here on earth. His face was seen by the people he made, and His beautiful glory and presence was known and enjoyed daily. In that day, the world was a garden, a true paradise that defied any imagination to envision a surpassing, unparalleled perfect home. Injustice did not exist. Hunger was unknown. Poverty was not conceived. There was no disease, death, or decay. God’s beauty filled the earth. But, like all good stories, there arose conflict that threatened the beauty. The created wanted control. Humanity decided to write the story, to be their own master. It ruined paradise.
The result is that all of humanity now lives in a broken world apart from the perfect community enjoyed in the presence and glory of God.
Paradise is now remote from earth.
When our relationship to God unraveled, our relationships with everything else unraveled. The ideal became desolate and broken, remote from the real beauty and glory. Mankind experienced psychological, physical, emotional, social, etc. alienation from God. So, we became the antagonist against a very good God.
I need a guaranteed hope for rescue, for I will suffer from this same malady to death. There is no perfection in this life apart from a true rescue of body and soul. I need Christmas, because I really do need God to become a babe, live the life I couldn’t live, and give me a real rescue from the darkness. I want to know real beauty and glory, live it, breathe it, and be near. If my soul so longs for something greater, what would that greater be? The transformation of all that is broken into beauty that cannot be marred. Christmas is a person, a deliverer, a rescuer promised–Emmanuel, “God With Us,” come to set his people free. Free from fear. Free from hate. Free from self-love. Free from serving the lesser gods that will not be able to deliver the true rest for our souls, nor fill it to overflowing with graces of real love and glorious tangible beauty.
I confess I need Christmas, because I need the promised babe of Christmas. I need authentic transformational heart change. “To us, the greatest demonstration of God’s love for us has been his sending his only Son into the world to give us life through him. We see real love, not in that fact that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to make personal atonement for our sins. If God loved us as much as that, surely we, in our turn, should love each other!” (I John 4:9-11, Phillips).
photo credit: unknown, internet