Last week I asked you to take a Christmas quiz with me. I would not do that to you two weeks in a row. But I will ask you again, how much do you know about this season? And even more, how much do you need to know?
When I think about the Bible and all that it says, it is such a remarkable and wonderful book. I have been studying, teaching and preaching from it for more than a quarter century now (I can hardly believe that I actually wrote that, as young as I am in my heart). And yet, every time I read from that book I learn more about God and his grace.
The same can be said about Christmas. I know many – if not most – of the traditions and teachings of the Christmas season, and yet there are new things that I learn and see every year. But there are some basic truths I think are essential in thinking about Christmas. Today I simply want to remind you of two of them.
The first is simple, yet essential. Christmas is about Jesus. That goes without saying, and still it must be said. In my home, the decorations have been up for a couple of weeks now. We have no small children in our home, but five stockings hang over the fireplace (Dad, Mom, two sons and daughter-in-law).
By tomorrow evening we will have had three special Christmas services, with two more still to come. And parties! By the time I attend every party to which I am invited, I may be able to stand in for old Saint Nick himself. And it is possible that I neglect – if not forget – the true meaning of the season. But I don’t want to do that this year. I want to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.
The second truth is this: Christmas requires that you and I make a response. God came to earth in the form of man. And we must decide what we will do with him. The city of Bethlehem had no room for the Savior. We must not make that same tragic mistake. Christmas calls for a response on our part. One cannot remain neutral. We must make a decision.
So the only question that really matters is: What will you do with Jesus this Christmas?