Merry Christmas Eve and happy Sunday! Today’s “Scripture Sunday” post follows a Christmas theme, and I love the message of this verse. If you are for whatever reason offended by Christianity, please feel free to scroll past this post and find another fashion or lifestyle post that better suits you. However, if you’re looking for a good Christ-based read before bed on this anticipated night I’d love for you to read this post! Let’s get on with the post already!
John 12:46; I have come into the world as light so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.
It’s so ridiculously easy to get caught up in all the gifts, songs, lights, and festivities that surround Christmas without even remembering what we’re celebrating. When asked what your favorite part of Christmas is, you might think the “right” answer is “giving gifts to my loved ones” and know simply to avoid claiming that receiving is the best part for you. However, the best part of Christmas would ideally be remembering the birth of Jesus. Even if you are a Christian and know that Jesus’ birth is the “reason for the season,” it’s probably not at the forefront of your mind between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. I’m definitely guilty of this as well, and I think it’s all to easy to get distracted these days.
Recently at a Campaigners (YoungLife Bible study) meeting, one of my leaders asked the question “if you didn’t know Christ’s birth the way you do now as a Christian, would the way you celebrate look different?” This question shook me a bit. I’d sure hope my celebrations would be completely different without Christ’s presence, because I’d like to think most of what I do around the holidays is in honor of Jesus’ birth. I thought to myself about what I do to celebrate this time of year. I pick out a tree with my family, my stepmother decorates our house with garlands and nativity scenes, I go to church with my family each Sunday (as we do all year), before dinner each Sunday my stepmother lights the candles of our Advent wreath, I purchase gifts for my family and friends, I receive gifts from my family and friends, I attend a holiday party or two, and my family attends the Christmas Eve service at church.
I wouldn’t jump to call any of those things not Christ-based, but they aren’t all centered on the idea of Christ’s birth. Picking a tree and decorating our house isn’t so much to directly celebrate Christ’s birth as much as it is to “get us in the holiday spirit.” Going to church and lighting the Advent wreath are both in theory Christ-based activities, but in all honesty I know I tend to zone out at church sometimes in our routine Episcopal services and the lighting of the Advent wreath becomes an afterthought for me after a couple weeks. Buying gifts for my friends and family becomes more about finding the perfect thing for the lowest price than it is remembering the wisemen’s gifts to Jesus or God’s gift to the world. Receiving gifts typically brings thoughts of “They know me so well!” and “Yes, just what I wanted!” to my mind instead of “While these gifts are kind and appreciated, they remind me of God’s great gift of eternal life that drastically overcomes any earthly gift.” Holiday parties should be reminders of how worthy of celebration Christ’s birth is, but instead they are places to hear the latest gossip, gorge on good food, and wear a special outfit.
John 12:46 truly embodies what we should be celebrating, what Jesus’ birth was all about. It wasn’t God saying “Look, I made this perfect person! Love Him and bring Him gifts!” Instead, Jesus’ birth brought us guidance, love, and eternal life. The verse reads “I have come into the world as light so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” Brighter than the pretty Christmas lights we make fun activities out of viewing, Jesus has lit up our dark world of tragedy and sin.
Tonight, as you lie awake in anticipation of the gifts you’ll find under the tree tomorrow morning, think about what a truly incredible gift you’ve already been given. When you consider eternal life in heaven, the little things we receive or get upset about not receiving are pretty ridiculous. Try to remember the real reason for the season, a reason even better than the smiles on the faces of those you’ve given gifts to or the beautiful tree you’ve decorated. Tomorrow is the birthday of the greatest presence to ever grace our earth, don’t get distracted by the party.
Thanks for reading! Have a merry Christmas and blessed week!