Throughout the month of December, the Nugget will be featuring articles focused on important lessons in our Spiritual walk that we can learn from Christmas. This 11 part series features several different authors, but the focus is the same: How can the celebration of Christ’s birth help us in our daily walk with Christ? Today’s lesson is the first of a 4-part mini-series from Lynona Gordon Chaffart…
As Christians, we all have what I feel is a increasingly difficult need to fulfill: Our top priority needs to be Jesus. We need to remember His Sacrifice. We need to focus our thoughts on His unfailing love, and we need to long for Heaven, our ultimate home.
With the 2021 Christmas season upcoming, we are all bracing ourselves for the stress. Some will choose to celebrate Christmas, and there will be extra baking, cleaning, decorating, shopping wrapping, working extra hours to pay for precious gifts, etc. Others will choose to not celebrate Jesus’ birth; nonetheless, if this is you, even you are not immune to the hustle and bustle of the season. There are, afterall, Christmas decorations everywhere, ads, extra traffic, difficulties parking, etc.
Somewhere in all of that, we remember in the back of our minds that this is supposed to be a birthday party, a celebration of the greatest birth in history.
While the world prepares to celebrate Christmas, most leave Christ out completely, and the season has become more and more of a family holiday than a birthday celebration. Even though we do not actually know when Jesus was born, and even though the Bible doesn’t specifically tell us to celebrate Jesus’ birthday (for if it did mandate this holiday, God would definitely have told us exactly when to celebrate it!), isn’t this the perfect opportunity to turn our thoughts and our minds to Jesus?
It is true that most of our traditional Christmas décor have pagan roots, and the purpose of this devotional is not to argue the point about whether or not we should even try to decorate for Christmas. The truth of the matter is, it doesn’t matter whether you specifically decorate YOUR home for Christmas or not, you WILL have Christmas decorations ALL around you! Hey, they are even coming out in November now, and many leave their Christmas lights up into the month of January!
As I mentioned about, I feel it is becoming increasingly more difficult to make and keep Jesus as our first priority. One way to help us with this goal is to spend more time contemplating Him, His gifts to us, His great love, His ultimate sacrifice. No matter what your personal convictions on the celebration of Christmas, why not use this holiday season as a time to remember to turn our thoughts and hearts to Jesus? Hey! Maybe if we work at it steadily over the month of December, as the world prepares to celebrate Christmas, maybe we will establish some habitual patterns that won’t be so easily broken! Maybe it will become easier to remember to worship our King – not just at Christmas and Easter, but ALL year long!
This is what is on my heart this year, as I prepare the Nuggets for the month of December. My heart longs for us to learn to focus on Jesus – ALL the time! My prayer is that through this month, the Nugget will be able to provide powerful tips on how to do this. To accomplish this goal, the various authors whose articles will be appearing this month will all be specifically focusing on the spiritual lessons we can learn from the Christmas season.
To begin today, I want to focus on the idea of sacrifice. This is the thing that struck me as I began to see the Christmas décor this season.
It’s true that we mostly talk about sacrifice around Easter, and yes. Jesus’ death on the cross was the ultimate in sacrifice. So where does sacrifice come into the celebration of His birth?
Let’s dig just a bit deeper. Before Jesus could die on the cross, He had to come to this earth. That meant leaving the splendors of Heaven, to come down here and live as in poverty: “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” (2 Cor. 8:9 NLT). That meant leaving His rightful home, where He was honored and lauded and loved: (“He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else.” John 3:31 NLT), to come to this Earth where He would be mocked and ridiculed and scorned: “He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.” (Is. 53:3 NLT). That meant leaving His Heavenly form to be confined to a human, physical body: “Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.” (Phil. 2:7 NLT).
Let’s remember that God knows the end from the beginning. He knows what will happen before it ever happens. Jesus, Himself, put it this way: “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am !” (John 8:58 NLT). This means that before ever coming to this Earth, Jesus knew He would suffer. He knew He would be separated from His Father. Why else would He have said in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me.” (Luke 22:42 NLT). Nonetheless, as we think of His birth on Earth, we have to realize that Jesus choose to leave Heaven. He choose to limit Himself to human form. He choose to place Himself in an environment where He would be mocked and ridiculed and scorned. Sure, He would rise up in ministry, He would have followers, but we have to realize that for the first 30 years of Jesus’ life, He did not even have ministry and followers! Nonetheless, He choose to come!
What love! What sacrifice! What mercy! What grace!
Whether or not you choose to decorate for the Christmas season, whether or not you choose to celebrate Christmas, I would encourage each of you, as you see the creches, as you hear the Christmas music, as you see the Christmas lights – Remember the depth and the breadth and the width and the length of Jesus’ Sacrifice! It didn’t start that night in Gethsemane. It began the day Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit! Let us remember the sacrifice He made to be born on this Earth, and let’s rejoice in His ultimate love and mercy and grace.
Let’s let the décor of Christmas help us to keep Jesus and His sacrifice — our focus!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two adult boys, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, The Illustrator, a four-times-a-week internet newsletter, and the Sermon Illustrator website, all with Answers2Prayer Ministries.
(To access the entire “Lessons From Christmas” mini-series, please click here.)