it is fascinating to see what gets christians all passionate and excited (in a pitchfork and flaming torches mob kind of way) – i remember the whole furore around the Christmas to X-mas campaign with stickers and articles and sermons declaring ‘put the Christ back into X-mas’ [it is only mildly funny that those people would campaign so strongly about that and yet for the most part be completely sucked into the capitalistic greed-focus of the event enjoying lavish feasts and piles of un-needed gifts while people just down the road from them lived in a box and had maybe a crust of bread to ‘enjoy’ on the day]

i get it, i really do, and clearly a world that is not Jesus-following will do everything it can to suck the meaningful spiritual significance out of an event that holds no meaningful spiritual significance for them, but i would suggest it is not the Christ in Christmas that needs saving [cue angry mob] but rather the cross [angry mob mutter to themselves and slowly disperse]

because without easter, Christmas actually doesn’t mean a whole lot – a baby is born, God comes to live with us – cool and everything… but it only becomes meaningful when you watch how the story plays out in its completeness and you see the end (and the beginning) take place on the cross when Jesus is crucified – in my place for my sin taking on the punishment of death that should rightfully, legally, be mine [and of course, yours]

for God so loved the world…

and so it’s really important that we view Christmas through the lens of Easter – God could have made some other plan of redemption but He chose to come Himself – that is mindblowing and worth celebrating and sharing with the world

in a time of wide scale greed and what will be (if you include new years) drunkenness and debauchery and it’s-all-about-me’ness, it is important to realise that Jesus came with a message of love – not the hollywood feel good, have-own-needs-satisfied love – but a love that requires choice, as well as sacrifice and surrender, that uplifts others above yourself, that seeks to always hope and protect and persevere, that wipes the slate clean of previous wrongs, that looks to bring hope to the hopeless and need to the needy (oh wait, no, they already have that) um, i mean to meet the needs of the needy.

when you keep the cross in Christmas, then it truly becomes true and observable that love never fails. it makes mistakes, it gets it wrong (and horribly wrong sometimes), and it even hurts people unintentionally when doing so, but it never ever fails.

let your Christmas be about love.