Let’s Skip Christmas

Let's Skip Christmas

Written by Pastor Matt Judd
From December 2023 Edition of the Messenger
I saw them begin to appear in stores in September, right next to the Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations...you saw it too – Christmas lights, decorations and more. You know, the start of that great season called “Hallowthanksmas” or something like that. I get it – retail needs to make its year-end numbers and Christmas is the #1 revenue stream (with Halloween at #2). But I must admit, I was both annoyed and exasperated by the spectacle.

Allison and I have been talking a lot recently about how to help people who are being left behind by the larger society – the functionally illiterate student, the child from a broken home, the mentally ill person who can’t seem to get their feet underneath them, and on and on. The only answer I can come up with is the power of proximity – even though it can get messy, we’ve got to stay close to them so they can see and know the love of Jesus through our love of them (even in the messes).
What’s this got to do with Christmas, you ask? Well, I think the answer is proximity again. I can get frustrated and annoyed about what others are making of the season and let it ruin my celebration. Or, I can lean into the season even harder (proximity), and so draw closer to Jesus, as He first has drawn near to us.
This year, we are talking about “skipping Christmas,” and we are going to lean hard into the power of the Gospel stories that many of us know well. We are going to see how the stories surrounding Jesus’ birth cut through so much of what has become of our Christmas celebrations to return us back to the basics of the season.
What am I inviting you to skip in your Christmas celebration this year - the complexity, the myth, the glitz, the safety, and the guilt that has often, and unfortunately, become associated with how we celebrate this season. When you look up close at the Nativity story, these qualities are not really present in a significant way. Yes, we’ve got kings in palaces and elegant robes but the King of the story is a swaddled baby in a feeding trough. Yes, we’ve got angels but they’re serenading shepherds. Remember, the door of redemption history itself swings open on the hinge of obedience of a young virgin woman and her fiancé shaking his head in the background.

At the end of his ministry, Jesus asked a simple question to the gang that had come to arrest Him – “Whom do you seek? (John 18:4 KJV). I think the question rings true for us this Advent season also. Who, or what, do you seek this year? Let’s skip some things so we can seek some better things to replace them with this Advent and Christmas – simplicity, reality, glory, adventure, and grace.

Before the glitz and complexity and guilt that this season has seemingly become there is this reminder from Matthew’s pen of what is really going on - All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[a] (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:22-23. God has come to us in Jesus – Alleluia, Amen, let us celebrate with glad and joyful hearts!
Let’s Skip Christmas
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