Why celebrate Christmas? I’m not too impressed by some answers. They’re sort of irritating: “Jesus is the reason for the season,” “It’s merry CHRISTmas, not happy holidays,” “Put Christ back in CHRISTmas,” and so on. Sort of like rubbing it in to anyone who isn’t that impressed with Jesus.
I have an interesting perspective on what the “reason for the season” is. Hear me out on this. I believe it will make your Christmas season more meaningful, maybe impact your life in a profound way.
1. Love Came Into the World.
The Christian religion is fairly easy to understand. Jesus came to free men from the law. It seems to make sense that we should get religious. Many so-called Christians tout their religion and condemn the world for not following it.
It’s no wonder a Grinch would find this a bit irritating. Not many in religious circles – at least ones I’ve found myself in – preach about love. Do you identify? Go to your church website and scroll through the titles of last year’s sermons. How many on love?
Yet God’s very word says more about love than anything else. God is love (1 John 4:8). The reason for the season isn’t to get more religion. God sent “the reason” because he “so loved the world.”
The world. The grumpy, grinchy, sinful world. He loved it so much he sent his son, Jesus, for us. Keep this in mind the next time you want to tell your atheist neighbor, Merry CHRISTmas!
2. Jesus Demanded Love.
The Grinch stares down from his cave at the little town of Christians and thinks, They aren’t who they say they are. There is bitterness in his heart. He thinks the churches below are filled with unloving, spiteful, mean-spirited religious folks, and his heart grows colder because of it.
But you know what? The Grinch has a point. Churches are filled with unloving, spiteful, mean-spirited religious folks – at least some I’ve been associated with. They judge the world as if Jesus came to empower them to do so. They embrace the love of Jesus yet turn and condemn those who haven’t yet been found. The Grinch is judged, he knows he’s judged, and he grows grinchier because of it.
Yet Jesus never called for us to participate in God’s judgment. He actually condemned such attempts. Remember, judge not lest ye be judged? Ye with no sin cast the first stone? All have sinned and fallen short? Christians should explore the depths of love, not explore the evil of others.
The “reason for the season” commanded us to love one another. Love was even referenced later by Jesus’ disciples as “the most important commandment”:
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” Mark 15:12 [Tweet this.]
3. Christmas Is About Love.
Is Christmas full of love for you and your family? Or is it wrapped in fakery? The Grinch is a grump, sure, but perhaps he understands something profound. If this Jesus – the religious, wrapped-in-swaddling-clothes, hallowed-head and pure Jesus – is the “reason for the season,” the Grinch wants nothing of it.
But if this Jesus is the son of God, born in a dirty manger, raised in poverty and under oppression, and who ultimately died to show us how to live – that got the Grinch’s attention. Love was born this day, and the rest of His life was to bring love into the world. He died for us so that we would get that.
The Grinch Was Right
When the Grinch came down from his dark cave to steal up the apparent treasures of Christmas, he discovered that the little town sang carols to celebrate the “reason for the season.”
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
“It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
“A little bit more.” Love. It seems cheesy, too simple. I’ve found the story of Jesus so profound that I’ve committed my life to following Him. But I have to resist the temptation to think it is anything much more important than love. He is love. That’s what my family and I celebrate every Christmas. Love is the reason for the season.