With this lack of Christmas joy this year, I've been putting a lot of thought into what the "Christmas Spirit" is "supposed" to be. Every year I make sure to watch the "Charlie Brown Christmas" special when it comes on, and I have to admit that as an adult I have a totally different take on all things Charlie Brown. You don't realize it as a kid watching the old Schultz-created cartoons, but the dialogue in Charlie Brown episodes is incredibly mature and adult. As a kid I watched that special and thought: Yay! Christmas play! Yay! Jesus is born! Yay! They decorated the ugly tree!
But now I have a different perspective; the entire special is a reminder to each and every one of us that Christmas is not about the plays, the perfect Christmas tree, or a stuff-filled list to Santa Claus.
No matter where you land in your faith, there is one thing that cannot be denied: Without Jesus, there never would have been a Christmas. It's in the word - CHRISTmas. Even before I was solid in my faith I realized this. But our culture has turned away from that and turned instead towards finding the perfect gifts, making sure that our parties go off without a hitch, and creating more stress than God EVER wants us to have in our lives. In fact - throughout the Bible we're told NOT to worry, NOT to stress, and that through Him all things are possible.
And every year, through the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations, ABC runs this aged Christmas special featuring the Peanuts gang. Not only do they run it, but they run it twice. It's like they realize that we need a reminder of why we celebrate Christmas. We wait with bated breath every year for the climax when Linus calmly tells Charlie Brown what exactly Christmas is after his outburst.
"Doesn't anyone know what Christmas is all about?!?!"
Last week we wrapped up a series with our youth group about the gifts that the Magi brought to Jesus. Steve wrapped it up with a talk on myrrh and what it means and why it was there. He landed on this point: if Jesus was just a regular rabbi, there would be no Christmas. We don't celebrate Christmas because He was born and because He taught the folks in the Middle East all sorts of cool things. We celebrate Christmas because of what happened on Easter.
So... unto us a Son was born. A Son who would die so that we could have a relationship with God again, in spite of our brokenness and our faults. That is where we should be looking for our joy, and more that likely if we stop long enough in looking there - we'll find that Christmas spirit we're looking for.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
God also gifted us with Josh Groban's voice. Here he sings "O Holy Night" - my favorite version of this song.