Tuesday, December 8, 2015

What is a Christmas Spirit?


Do you have the Christmas Spirit?



Have you ever heard of the concept of "The Christmas Spirit?"  Years ago, I  belonged to a church which presented an elaborate musical production every year during the Christmas season. It almost always revolved around the theme of the "Christmas Spirit."  Along with this elusive spirit of the holiday was the "magic" of Christmas. I remember waiting and waiting for the gospel to be presented but I waited in vain.

With everything going on this time of year, we can get caught up with external signs of the holiday, but we should be mostly concerned with the signs within. My wife, Robyn, says that she can focus on Christ more fully on any given Tuesday than during the Christmas season which is only made possible because of Him. But the hectic holiday parties and concerts and shopping and trying to please everyone with the perfect gift are distractions that can actually rob us of the meaning of the season altogether.

                          
 THE GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS
                                                                      THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS



An online article I read recently attempted to explain how to capture this Christmas spirit.
What is it, anyway?  How would you define the Christmas spirit?
  “It is about giving to other people more than to yourself.”

 “The Christmas spirit is being jolly and remembering all the things to be jolly for.”
 “The Christmas spirit is about getting excited, and having belief, and magic, and faith.”
 “The Christmas spirit is about having everyone available in your family together.
 “The Christmas spirit means, even when you don’t get what you want, you’re still grateful for what you did get.” She paused thoughtfully. “But if you don’t get what you want, don’t start yelling at the person, as they tried their best.”



Now I will take a turn with this spirit of Christmas. I have thought about this for quite a while and I have three things I'd like to share.
1. It is focusing on the fact that Jesus Christ was God who became the God-Man. The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and in her womb, the Son of God from eternity past became a man. The Son of God put aside the insignia of deity and and became 


  the God-Man. He  was born in a manger, which was a feeding trough in a barn,
.
 2. Part of the Christmas spirit  involves looking intently at the person of Christ and realizing He came, through the Holy Spirit, to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin. One of the greatest statements about the incarnation of Christ was said by the Apostle Paul; For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake's he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich ( 2 Corinthians 8:9). He was rich in all of his glorious attributes but put aside the independent use of them.  He was rich in righteousness but came under the wrath of God so that in Him we might become the  righteousness of God. In 2 Corinthians 5:21 The Bible says, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (NASB).

The Hymn writer, Issac Watts, says about this:
Was it for crimes that I have done,
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! Grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide,
And shut its glories in,
When God, the mighty maker, died
For His own creature's sin. 


3. It recognizing that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and the LORD of LORDS.  He  now sits at the right hand of God and will some day rule from His throne in Jerusalem. See Philippians 2:9-11.

Charles Wesley said:
Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings

Ris'n with healing in His wings
 Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"



 The United States is fast becoming a nation who wants the spirit of Christmas without the Christ. What can we do this season to honor Christ?  We can share the gospel with our neighbors, our friends and even those we barely know. We can share the good news that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins in our place. 

The apostle John tells us in His epistle:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;  and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the Antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
 Your Turn: Today, take a moment to bring the Christmas spirit alive in your household. Ask each family member, over dinner, to define the Christmas spirit. Then post their answers on your refrigerator as your personal family-reminder of what this season is all about.