When you work in a private Christian school, the month of December is particularly full and festive. Decorated Christmas trees in the classrooms, popsicle stick manger projects on the walls, popular carols sung during Chapel and, of course, Jesus’ Birthday Party.
Last week, as I sat in on Kindergarten’s cooking class, I asked the 5 and 6 year olds if they were excited about Jesus’ Birthday Party (a school event just before Christmas Break). As expected, the majority of them shouted “YESSS!” in unison with smiles from ear to ear. But, just as their excitement faded, one little girl confidently spoke up… “I’m not celebrating Jesus’ birthday this year”, she offhandedly said as she bit into her Christmas tree shaped Rice Krispie treat. The other students looked at her confused. Some gasped. “Why would you not celebrate Christmas? You get presents and stuff!”, explained her friend. “Yeah!” the others shouted, as they got defensive and worried. She casually responded, “I just don’t want to”, as she continued to smack on her sugary snack.
Fortunately, I know this Kindergartener well enough to know that there’s a strong chance she didn’t actually mean what she said, considering she was having a rough day, and is often just trying to get reactions out of others. Which she is clearly successful at doing.
But as I went home that day, I couldn’t stop thinking about how her words, although negative and somewhat shocking, are often the exact way many Christians approach Christmas.
How sometimes our month of December gets so full with Christmas decorations, Christmas shopping, Christmas parties, Christmas lights, Christmas recipes and Christmas presents that we forget to celebrate the real Birthday altogether.
Our hearts and actions are essentially saying “I’m not celebrating Jesus’ birthday this year”. Because we feel we have more important things to do and we have selfishly made Christmas about ourselves. But just as the other Kindergarteners were appalled by her scandalous statement, we should be appalled at how we have tried to make Christmas about anything other than Jesus.
The truth is, we have no choice but to be excited for Jesus’ birthday. For our very existence and salvation are centered around that baby, humbly born in a filthy manger — our Creator and Savior.
The birth of Jesus is more than a fun holiday to celebrate, it’s a message of HOPE sent by God himself. A promise that the King of JOY has come and is coming again. Christmas came to destroy sin and give us everlasting LIFE. And THAT is worth our greatest celebration.
Don’t miss out on Jesus’ Birthday this year. I promise He’s better than anything you’ll find under your Christmas tree.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”