Most people would agree that Christmas is a very busy time of the year. In fact, it is so busy that sometimes the birth of Jesus gets squeezed out and de-emphasized with Christmas activities. Whoever first coined the phrase, “Jesus is the reason for the season,” probably had this issue in mind. We do so much during the season of Christmas, we often find we aren’t focusing on the birth of Christ, which is the real “reason for the season.” We have shopping and baking to do, decorating the house, endless holiday parties, most of which we need to take a gift or prepare food for, we have school programs and church programs, and Christmas plays. We have live nativities and singing Christmas trees, and children playing shepherds in the fields, complete with costumes. We decorate a tree, or two; we shop for presents and wrap them beautifully; we figure out which Christmas Eve service we can attend and still have time with family at home. We are busy people, especially at Christmas, as we add to already full schedules all the activities of the Christmas season.
And then we think of the verse of scripture, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Often, in the midst of all our Christmas activities, we begin to feel guilty, discouraged, and maybe even angry, on top of all the stress the busy schedule brings. We feel like this isn’t what Christmas should be, but we don’t know how to unplug, slow down, and focus on Jesus. We are so busy that we are missing the simple reality of the incarnation, that is, being with Jesus who came to be with us.
At this point, we may believe our only options is to distance ourselves from all the trappings and activities of Christmas (or at least the vast majority of them), or just forget pretending there is a spiritual foundation for Christmas. I believe, however, that there is a third option...
What if we began to seriously believe in the incarnation? What if we understood the birth of Jesus is about God coming into all that makes up our lives? That He came to BE with us, as His Name, Immanuel (God with us), states. Suppose we decided to try to make Christmas all about incarnation? I am not sure we best celebrate the birth of our Savior by unplugging from all that is going on around us. I think we can best honor and celebrate Jesus and His arrival on this planet in bodily form by doing our best to incarnate His presence in all of our doing in this busiest time of the year.
Suppose we intentionally tried to represent Jesus at our office party? Imagine if, as we shopped, we had as a primary goal to incarnate the presence of Jesus in the mall? Suppose we prepared our Christmas meal and baked our Christmas cookies with the attitude that we were trying to demonstrate the love of the Savior who fixed breakfast for His disciples after He was raised from the dead? Suppose our “doing” of Christmas was all about what Christmas is all about? Christmas shouts to us that God has come into all aspects of our lives. He is God, with us. Busy Christmas schedules don’t have to detract from the “reason for the season.” They are opportunities for us to celebrate, honor, and imitate the One reason Christmas exists. A busy life full of activities can be a life overflowing with opportunities to celebrate the incarnation, to celebrate Jesus, to celebrate Christmas.
So, cook, decorate, shop, and go to parties and programs. “Do” Christmas, but do Christmas the way God did. Do it as Incarnation. Do all you do for the glory of God, that the reality of His presence with us is expressed as you do all those things and participate in those activities.