One of my favorite Christmas stories is the classic Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Last year my wife and I enjoyed a fantastic stage production of this wonderful old story.
It seems every Christmas story has to have a Scrooge, from predictable Hallmark dramas to children’s books. The reason we always write a jerk into our holiday stories is because it’s true. It’s real life.
Today I want to encourage you not to be a Christmas jerk. Don’t be the Scrooge. It’s all too easy. Maybe you’re expecting an Xbox and you get a sweater. Maybe your parents have to tighten the belt and you have fewer packages under the tree. Maybe Christmas is a tough time because you’re reminded again of the fragility and dysfunction of your family. Perhaps you wish your family would be like the others who seem to have it all together.
Or… maybe you’re stressed out because you have a ton of stuff to do. Recitals, plays, people, parties.
The circumstances and environment around the holidays make it all too easy to fall into jerk mode. And I’m saying, don’t let it happen. Why? Because, of all people, it is Christians who should be full of joy on Christmas. Why? Because this is the celebration of our story, how God moved dramatically to rescue His creation by sending Jesus to live, first as a baby, then as a growing boy, and then as a man.
Christmas is good news. It is God’s entrance into the world. God didn’t stay in Heaven as a detached deity, he moved to become flesh. What a powerful story.
How do you avoid becoming a Christmas jerk? First, meditate on the story. Go back to the chapters in Isaiah and Matthew and Luke. Remember why we celebrate. Second, go with the flow. What I mean is hold your Christmas plans loosely. Remember its about love, about giving, about peace. So if you get stiffed on the Xbox, let it go. Third, find ways to give back this Christmas. Is there a needy child, a program at your church, a community center that needs you’re time and perhaps your money? Give. Fourth, don’t get hung up on frivolous stuff. Don’t be a Christian who whines about commercialization, about the “War on Christmas.” Just fight against those with genuine, Holy-Spirit-led Christmas cheer.
Strive this year, to be part of the good at Christmas. And leave the jerkiness to Dickens, Hallmark Channel, and others.
UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT
NCCP Ecumenical Ministry of the Church of the Risen Lord
University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC