Why Does Christmas Matter?

    Most families, religious or not, will celebrate Christmas this year, each with their own unique rituals and traditions. One that I grew up with, which I have often been told is unique and even strange, is a game my family calls “find the baby Jesus.” The game is simple: we search for the infant Jesus from our Nativity scene in the common areas of our house after one of us has hidden it. The person who successfully finds the figurine, which is about the size of a house key, has the honor of hiding it the next round. Anything can go in terms of where to hide the infant Lord but there is one rule: he must remain in plain sight.
    Christmas is a special time of year but we often find ourselves hard pressed in our search for Jesus in the midst of it. Christmas is no longer just a religious holiday; it is a massive cultural observance. The iconography of Christmas includes Santa Claus, Buddy the Elf, Rudolph and Cousin Eddie just as much as it includes Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the magi. The Rockefeller Center, with its massive and brilliant decorations, is as synonymous with Christmas as the little town of Bethlehem. Some Christians have pointed to some of the non-religious aspects as the “war on Christmas,” and have even boycotted large businesses they feel have taken the focus away from Jesus.
    And then there are those of us who acknowledge that Christmas wasn’t even very Christian to begin with, pointing to the pagan origins of many of its practices that were introduced by early European converts. Jesus’ birth more than likely did not occur on December 25, the date of the Winter solstice in the Roman calendar. They might even show you how the birth of Jesus is only mentioned in two of the Gospels. Their historical perspective allows them to drink coffee from those plain red cups guilt-free because they know Christmas is, by and large, an ancient secular holiday that was assimilated into church tradition.
    So, why does Christmas matter? Even though the holiday can provide its share of turmoil, I truly think there is still something deeper at work in the hearts of people during this time of year. Christmas causes us to be generous to the ones in our lives we probably don’t give enough to. It brings us closer to family members we often wish we knew better. Throughout history it brought peace to people and nations even during the worst of times, perhaps most famous of all being the Christmas Truce of World War I, when German and British soldiers left their trenches to sing carols and exchange gifts among each other.
    And while the bonds we share with each other during Christmas are special, they only scratch the surface of the peace and goodwill promised to us by the angels in the gospel of Luke. The death and resurrection are the most significant events in the life of Jesus to his followers, but we don’t get to inherit those victories or his other miracles without that first miracle of the incarnation. The birth of Jesus was the first of many fulfilled promises and we celebrate it because of God’s faithfulness. The birth of Jesus is worth celebrating because it gives us a hope more powerful than any on earth.
    We usually enter the spirit of worship late in the season, and it often takes a candlelight singing of “Silent Night” or a reading of Luke chapter 2. And that’s okay. The lights, the trees, the gifts, the songs and films are here to stay as part of Christmas tradition and, while sometimes overwhelming and excessive, they can be enjoyed too. After the New Year, the decorations will come down, the stores will become less crowded and most of us will probably be glad to finally stop hearing “Santa Baby” on the radio. And while Christmas comes and goes, the Gospel and the Spirit of the Living God remain in us, and we see that Jesus was still at the heart of it all, very much in plain sight.
Author | Justin Patton
Tagged with ,





no categories


1 Corinthians 1 Kings 1 Peter 2 Corinthians 2 Peter Aaron Vickroy Abba Abiding Abigail Bradley Abundance Accountability Actions Adam Salway Addiction Adoration Adventure Alafia Adeleke Alex Hinton Alignment Andrew Elder Andrew Smith Anger Anna DiCosty Anna Goellner Anointing Ansley Davenport Anxiety Armor of God Ashlyn Williams Ashton Brantley Asian American and Pacific Islander Month Aubrey Gold Authority Autumn Pressley Awakening Bailey Meyne Balance Beauty Becca Johnstone Becca Morgan Being Uncomfortable Being mortal Beloved Ben Gill Benji Johnston Bentley Clark Bethel Black History Month Blessing Body Image Body of Christ Boldness Boundaries Brad Schiebel Bravery Breakthrough Brittany Futch Brokenness Brooke DeLoach Brooklyn Holloway COVID-19 Caitlin Cooper Calling Calvary Cam Pace Caroline Barnes Caroline Beasley Caroline Newton Carolyn McLain Celebration Change Charlie Knox Child-like Chloe Glass Chosen Christina Hensley Christlikeness Christmas Survival Guide Christmas Claire Jordan Clarity Colorado Comfort Commitment Communion Community Comparison Compassion Complacency Confidence Connection Consistency Contentment Control Conviction Correction Counseling Courage Covenants Creativity Cristina Rosiles Dating Decisions Dependency Depth Desperation Devon Radford Disappointment Discernment Discipleship Leadership Blog Discipleship Discipline Distraction Diversity Division Doubt Dreams Dutch Williams Easter Eat the Book El Roi El Shaddai Elders Elijah Elizabeth Sprinkle Ellie Knight Ellyzsa Valencia Emily Baker Emily Goldin Emily Helton Emily Summers Emma Kate Shelton Emma Whitmer Emmanuel Fortuchang Emotions Empathy Emptiness Encountering God Encounter Encouragement Rooms Endurance Enough Environment Envy Erin Gilleland Eternity Evan Correa Evangelism Exodus Expectation Faithfulness Faith Family Fear of the Lord Fear Feeling Lost Feeling Safe Fernanda Lima Forgiveness Fredom Freedom Freely Given Freshley Friendship Fruits of the Spirit Fun Future Garner Gay Generosity Genesis Gentleness Gift Giving Giving Glory of God Goals God as a Father God is Smart God is with us God's Character God's Heart God's Names God's Plans God's Plan God's Power God's Presence God's Promises God's Timing God's Voice God's Will God\'s Character God\'s Heart God\'s Names God\'s Plans God\'s Plan God\'s Power God\'s Presence God\'s Promises God\'s Timing God\'s Voice God\'s Will God\\\'s Character God\\\'s Heart God\\\'s Names God\\\'s Plans God\\\'s Plan God\\\'s Power God\\\'s Presence God\\\'s Promises God\\\'s Voice God\\\'s Will God\\\\\\\'s Character God\\\\\\\'s Presence God\\\\\\\'s Voice Government Grace Gratitude Guatemala Guidance Haley Blanchard Haley Hall Hallie Turner Hannah Cole Healing Heart Posture Heaven Hinds Feet on High Places Hispanic Heritage Month History of Prayer History of Revival History of Wesley Holidays Holiness Holly Avera Holy Spirit Holy Week Home Honor Hope Hospitality Humility Hunger Hunter MacInnis I Am Ian Burkes Identity Idols Image of God Imagination Influence Inheritance Intention Intercession Interning Intimacy Isolation Jake Stephens Jamaica Jamie Cherf Jealousy Jennifer Daniel Jessie Thomas Jesus John Wesley John Joseph Josh DeRamus Journaling Joy Judgment Julia Baughn Justice Justin Patton Kalli Drake Karla Sanchez Tavera Katherine Burnette Katie Courson Katie Pilson Katie Pitner Katy Smith Kelley Losinger Kelly Losinger Kelsey Parham Kennedy Browning Kimberly Klaer Kindness Kingdom Knowing God Knowledge Known Kourtney Axelberg Kristen Fikse Kyle Pickett Language Latinx Heritage Month Lauren Forbes Leadership Legacy Lia Herrera Life Light Lindsey Conway Listening Living Water Living with God Logic Loneliness Longing Los Angeles Loss Love Languages Love Luke Luvlan Lee Mackenzie Wells Maddie Marsh Madeline Current Madelyn Livingston Madison Davis Madison McManners Makinizi Hoover Mariah Foote Mariah Taylor Marlena Sculac Marriage Martin Luther King Jr. Matthew Maturity Melissa Merrick Mental Health Mercy Meredith Ashburn Messiah Michael Weidner Miracles Missions Morgan Attebery Mourning Names Narnia Nashville Natalie Mata Nathan DeYoung New Covenant New Year Obedience Old Covenant Olivia Beals Olivia Ellis Openness Outreach Pain Partnership Passover Past Paul Peace Perfection Perseverance Perspective Peter Pharisees Philippians Power Praise Prayer Guide Prayer Meetings Prayer Pride Processing Prophecy Protection Provision Psalm 23 Psalms Purity Purpose Rachel Dow Rachel Erin Taylor Rachel Henderson Rachel Jones Racial Healing Racial Reconciliation Rebecca Mejia Recipes Reconciliation Red Rising Redemption Refinement Reflection Reform Refreshing Relationship Remedy Repentance Resolutions Resources Responsibility Restoration Rest Resurrection Reverence Revival Rhythm Righteousness Riley Orr Risk Romance Romans 8 Romans Rosalie Vendrell Ruth Sabbath Sacred Rhythms Sacrifice Salvation Sam Adams Sam Carroll Sam Darby Samantha Forbes Samantha Richey Sanctification Sarah Savoie Savannah Hill Savannah Shaw Savannah Ugan Scripture Seasons Secrets of the Secret Place Seeking God Selah Self-love Sermon on the Mount Serving Shaking Shame Sidney Counsell Simplicity Singleness Sin Slowing Solitude Sorrow Sovereignty Spiritual Disciplines Spiritual Gifts Spiritual Health Spiritual Themes Spiritual Warfare Status Steadfastness Stephanie Seda Stephanie Stewart Strength Stress Struggles Suffering Summer Survival Guide Summer of Psalms Summer Surrender Temple Temptation Tenderness Tension Testimony Thankfulness The Beatitudes The Church The Cross The Gospel The Law The Lord's Prayer The Lord\'s Prayer The Lord\\\'s Prayer The Prodigal Son The Road to Life The Secret Place The Shack The Ten Commandments The Trinity The Word of God Therapy Tori Kramer Transformation Transition Trust Truth Uncertainty Unity Urgency Values Victory Vision Vulnerability Wandering Wednesday Night Recap Who Am I Wilderness Wisdom Wonder Word for the Year Words Worship Worth