Upwardly Dependent » walking the delicate balance of absolute truth and overwhelming grace.

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The Christmas Story is Only the Beginning

I grew up in a conservative church background with generations of believing men and women passing down a rich legacy of faith. These men and women were Scripture-searching, Bible-quoting people who I believe had the best of intentions as they sought to glorify God through sound doctrine and Biblical truths.

As a little girl, I learned that Christmas {as a holiday} is not found in the Bible, nor is the command to celebrate Jesus’ birth. It was always awkward for me when people rejoiced in The Reason for the Season, because we didn’t have a nativity scene in our home and there was no Christmas Eve service at church.

As an adult, I shook off some of this staunch rejection to Christmas as a religious holiday because I found myself so secluded from the Christian community at large. What is the problem with celebrating Christ, in any form or context? I certainly don’t have an issue with this, and my husband and I are learning how to integrate the Christmas Story into our new holiday traditions.

But this year, I have found myself stuck in the middle of a lot of things, and the Protestant Christmas teaching is yet another one.

Because if I’m honest with myself, the Bible truly never glorifies the birth of Christ.

We are invited to celebrate it, just as shepherds came to worship Baby Jesus in a manger and wise men came to honor Baby Jesus with rich gifts. The birth of Christ is certainly a precious present that we receive with anticipation, hope, and overwhelming joy.

But the entire vision of Christ’s church was set in motion by his life, death, and resurrection.

We gather, study, obey, and proclaim Good News because of the perfect model we have in Jesus’ life.
We fight injustice, sacrifice comforts, and deny ourselves because of the humble servanthood we witness in Jesus’ death.
We look forward, see beyond, and cling to hope because of the eternal perspective we are given in Jesus’ resurrection.

If I am going to set aside one day of the year to honor Jesus’ birth, I want to spend the other 364 days honoring the rest of his story. Because that’s the story that’s convicted me, taught me, and sustained me.

The Christian community has gone to such great lengths to commemorate Christ’s birth. We have established traditions and written songs and created Advent calendars. And rightfully so.

God exists to be worshiped. God in all forms exists to be glorified.

I simply hope that we put as much effort into rejoicing over Christ’s death and resurrection throughout the year as we do celebrating his birth during this season of Christmas.

I hope that with all of our humble nativity scenes, we practice welcoming the humble into our homes.
I hope that with all of our twinkling lights, we practice being that light in the dark places of our communities.
I hope that with all of our beautifully wrapped packages, we practice taking the gift of Good News to all people in all places.

It’s hard for me to believe that Christ wants the world to remember him in the form of a helpless babe.

But I do believe him when he said, Do this in remembrance of me, and he instituted communion.

And through communion, he gives us the opportunity to make each gathering of the saints a blessed celebration of our faith.

So we acclaim his birth. And we should! December is a wonderful time of year filled with endless opportunities to love well and rejoice in the perfect prophecies fulfilled through a tiny baby in a manger.

But may we also commemorate his body and his blood, and rejoice in his resurrection as he conquered death from our sin to the grave with a promise of eternity.

The Christmas story is only a beautiful part of the master plan of our God and King.

christmas story

So after the guests return home and the trees come down, after the magic of Christmas has drifted into January, take heart, my friend.

There’s a Spirit that’s within us, alive and powerful, that wants to celebrate every day, every week, with every breath we have. Christ is manifested inside us always.

The story of Jesus’ birth is so much more than just a season. It’s the story that launches us forward into a tribe of confessing believers, modeling our lives after that of our Anointed One.

Comments

comments

AprilDecember 23, 2014 - 1:27 pm

You put into words so eloquently what I believe and was raised to believe as well. We had one very pretty, glass nativity set that Mom always let us “carefully” play with. I never felt the big celebration of Jesus birth growing up but I guess I was shielded from what everyone else was doing. I knew friends that always participated in a Christmas play at church and I thought that was neat. Now that I’m an adult though, the push of “Jesus is the reason” stuff is everywhere. I am so glad people are openly talking and looking to Jesus but like you, I think we need to be more intentional of studying every part of Jesus’ life and death.

SecondStoriesJanuary 1, 2015 - 3:30 am

Beautiful words– “…with all of our twinkling lights, we practice being that light in the dark places of our communities.” May it be so!