I occurred to me recently that I wasn’t really filled with the “Christmas Spirit” and that something had to be done about that. The obvious solution, of course, was to purchase $30 worth of Christmas lights and decorate my living room. That would do the trick.
Oddly, it sort of did.
At any rate, my house is more festive.
Not content to settle for just the lights, I decided to overanalyze the situation. “What is the Christmas Spirit,” I asked? (cliche alert) What is the reason for the season?
I love the sunday school answer. Concise, clear and one with which you can’t argue.
According to the book of Luke (or Linus from the Charlie Brown Christmas Special) at the very first Christmas there were shepherds, visited by an angel.
And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
So, the birth of Jesus was “good news.” But what is the good news?
Pause for more online Bible research.
Early in His ministry, Jesus defined “Good News” by quoting from the prophet Isaiah.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
That’s not good news. It’s great news. …if you’re in captivity, blind or oppressed.
Yes, Jesus came to bring hope to the poor and marginalized. But what about the rest of us?
Could it be that we are all held captive by something? All blind to situations in our lives? Do we all need liberation?
What in your life is holding you down? Stressing you? Telling you that you aren’t good enough? What is it that you need to let go of right now?
Jesus came with a word of good news to the woman at the well, the tax collector, the blind man, the rich, the poor, the sick, the lonely, his friends and even those that hated him.
That word was “all.”
You aren’t alone.
The beauty of Christmas isn’t just that Jesus brings “good news of great joy,” but that He brings it to “all of the people.”
All. Everyone. Each one of us.
We’ve all been liberated.
As the Apostle Paul explained, in Christ we are all one.
And couldn’t we just as easily add:
Your friends/that annoying person driving the SUV in the Target parking lot
You see, the good news that Jesus came to proclaim is just as radical today as it was 2,000 years ago. It’s so hard to accept that we have to reminded of it once a year at Christmas. The Christmas Spirit asks that you love your neighbor, even when you don’t want to, even when they don’t seem to deserve it, even when it’s difficult.
Because we’re all in this together.
When we show love and compassion to all of those around us, we become the Christmas Spirit.
And it doesn’t take $30 worth of Christmas lights to do it.