Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD that he may have compassion on him and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.Isaiah 55:6-9 (ESV)
This is that time of year when we begin to feel this overwhelming pressure to make everything magical. We’ve got to get the decorations just right or it won’t “feel” like Christmas. We’ve got to buy everyone the perfect present. We’ve got to make things magical for the kids. We’re making Christmas memories for Pete’s sake! We’ve got to have the matching jammies on Christmas morning, or the whole thing will just be ruined! Christmas in most Christian homes looks pretty much the exact same as it does in the homes of their secular neighbors. Lights, tinsel, cookies—and excess. That’s Christmas magic, right? We’ll squeeze some Jesus in, if we have the time. Maybe an ornate and expensive nativity scene in the front hall will do the trick? Or we can squeeze in a quick read of the Christmas story before bed on Christmas Eve?
But what if we forget about trying to make the holidays magical and focus on making them meaningful? What if we stopped trying to squeeze Jesus into Christmas? What if we made it His holiday all the way around?
There is nothing wrong with Christmas decorations. But what if we could use them to point our kids to God-with-us? What if the evergreen brought discussions about eternal life (John 3:16; 6:68; 11:25; 12:50; 14:1-3)? What if Christmas lights sparked the conversation of the light coming into the darkness (John 1:5; 3:19; 8:12; 12:35-36, 46)? What if the gifts pointed to the gift of Jesus (John 3:16; 12:32, 44-45; 14:6-7; 19:30)?
There is nothing wrong with Christmas traditions, family gatherings, and holiday fun. But if any of those things take our eyes off the Baby in the manger, we need to rethink how we are prioritizing the holiday. If your Christmas leaves out Jesus because you’re so busy making “magic”, what exactly have you accomplished? Let us not attempt to “make magic” this Christmas. Let’s look to have meaning. Let’s focus on Jesus, rather than trying to squeeze Him in. Let’s prioritize things that highlight the real reason for the season and let go of those things that only distract us. Let’s not get so caught up in the hustle and bustle that we fail to see Him. If your kids get all the magic the world has to offer—all the presents, the Insta-perfect décor, all the fa-la-la-ing their little hearts can handle, but they miss Jesus—what was your Christmas even for?