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How NOT to Have a Merry Christmas

Have you been listening to the Christmas advertisements?  I want to challenge you to stop and fully receive the message of Christmas they bring.  They tell you that the true joy of the season is found by purchasing their latest bargain for someone you love, but they don't stop there.  The real enticement is to get you to think more about yourself.  The messages end by encouraging you to buy gifts on sale for your friends and family and save most of your money picking up something you really want.  After all, the advertisements imply, you are sure to get bad gifts from everyone else in your life. 
When I think of the messages I receive about Christmas from the world, it sendsme running back to Christ to find the true meaning of Christmas.  Jesusdidn't come as a baby so that I could have a rationale for splurging on myselfonce a year.  He didn't come to wear me out chasing a dream holiday.  Hedidn't come so that I would remember the homeless and hungry only in December.  Hecame to be my Savior.  He came to make a relationship with God possible.
He also put me in charge of telling others about the true meaning of Christmas.  It’ssad to think about how empty Christmas is without Jesus, yet that is exactlywhat Christmas is like for over half the people you live, work and interact witheach year.  They are living the dream of Christmas that will never satisfy.  Evenif they could buy everything they wanted for themselves and everyone they love,they would never be satisfied. 
When I listen to the messages from the world around Christmas, I stop and facethe empty feelings so many must be experiencing as this season comes and goesin their lives.  They were created for a personal relationship with JesusChrist, not to replace their disappointment with Aunt Gertrude’s sweaterwith a shiny new car.  And by the way, what is so wrong with wearing AuntGertrude’s crazy Christmas sweater with a smile and wrapping yourself inthe warm feelings that though she doesn't have the best taste in clothes, shedoes love her niece enough to buy that gift?
If you want to miss out on a Merry Christmas, listen to the advertisements thatbombard you every day.  If you want to have a Merry Christmas, reflect onthe life of the baby that was born.  He lived His life focused on lovingHis Heavenly Father and telling everyone how much He loved them.  I justread an article this week about what the unchurched think of Christians and mostof them said that they would attend church with us if we will ask.  Thebest way to have a Merry Christmas is to share the story of Christmas with thosewho don't know, but who have hearts that were designed to accept the story.
This year I hope you will spread the joy of Christmas to the people in your worldwho do not know Jesus.


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