RESEARCH

What does Christmas Look Like?

Craig Kraft / Wednesday, December 18, 2019

 

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

That familiar phrase keeps coming to my mind as I notice more and more lights, decorations, and Christmas music. This iconic phrase keeps drawing me back to the deep philosophical question of, “What does Christmas look like?”

An Ideal Christmas

I know the ideal Christmas looks different to each one of us.

I wonder if God has an ideal image of Christmas that he wants to develop in our minds.

For many, thoughts of Christmas involve family gatherings, festive decorations, and the smell of our favorite seasonal foods. For some, the look of Christmas is a decorated tree that is shadowed by heaping mounds of brightly wrapped presents. For others, the look of Christmas is more like a Norman Rockwell or Hallmark image, or the beautiful December page in our calendar.

In spite of the various ways our cultures decorate, some of us picture Christmas with a tiny baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger, surrounded by livestock, shepherds, angels, and wise men.

The First Christmas

God wants the arrival of his son to be remembered with celebration, decorations, and gift-giving. As we go back to that first Christmas, we start to notice some of the intentional decorations that God provided for the party.

The creator of the universe didn’t need strings of lights. He used the stars, and he made one shine so bright that it was seen from the Far East.

God didn’t want the night to go unnoticed, so he decorated the starlit sky with a host of angels to provide a musical backdrop for the grand event.

Instead of festive cards and invitations, the heavenly host issued the welcome to special guests who brought the first living nativity scene to life.

In days of old when they didn’t have the speedy delivery of Canada Post, delivery was slow. It took about two years before the wise men arrived with their presents. That would have been quite a sight to behold, probably numbering close to 100, with camels, carts, and flowing robes as the entourage arrived bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

I don’t think God minds the decorations, music, and traditions that have become such a big part of Christmas. It is clear to see that He was busy trimming the tree in his special way that first Christmas. He wants his son’s arrival to be a celebrated event. He is blessed when we take the time to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas: The gift!

Christmas Questions to Ponder

How will your Christmas celebrations look?

  • Will you be surrounded by the warm embrace of festive decorations and Christmas music?
  • Will you be gathered with close friends and family?
  • Will your celebration include the recognition of Jesus, God’s priceless gift to a longing world?
  • Will your celebration focus on sharing with others?
  • Will you include hospitality toward a stranger or one less fortunate as part of your celebration?

As we plan our celebration, this year, let’s remember to take time to reflect upon The Gift of Christmas, Jesus Christ, who was born into this world to be our saviour!

 

Craig Kraft served as a pastor in BC and Alberta for 16 years before joining OC in the area of Church Health and revitalization. Craig and Heather, his wife, served with OC for three years in southern Africa before he became the Executive Director of Outreach Canada in 2008. If Craig had some free time, you'd probably find him watching sports, working in the yard or spending time in the woods.

 

 


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