I think something is broken about Christmas. Not in terms of what it means, but in how we celebrate it.
Do you find Christmas too busy, expensive, shallow or stressful? If so, you may be getting sucked into the Holly Jolly Hurricane that starts to blow every December, carrying all of us away from our sensible moorings in a bluster of yuletide insanity.
But don’t worry. There’s hope for a more meaningful Christmas!
The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1 is a part of the Christmas story we often skip. But that’s where we learn about Jesus’ family line. It specifically alludes to the story of Tamar tricking her father-in-law into sleeping with her, to a Canaanite prostitute named Rahab, and to King David sending one of his soldiers to be killed in battle so that he could keep the soldier’s wife Bathsheba all to himself.
In the ancient world, genealogies functioned like resumes. So why would the gospel writer allude to all this sordid information?
I think it’s because it teaches us that Jesus comes FROM a troubled, diverse human family FOR a troubled, diverse humanity. This plays out through the entire Gospel. As Jesus himself says in Matthew 20:28, he “did not come to be served, but to serve…”
So how can this information help you?
Christmas isn’t about crazy consumerism. It’s about the birth of a Servant Saviour. Therefore, colour your Christmas with service. If Jesus came from a troubled, diverse human family FOR a troubled, diverse humanity, those of us who follow him should also be FOR that same troubled, diverse humanity.
So look at your schedule and ask, How can I colour my Christmas with service? (If you need some practical ideas, scroll to the bottom of this post.)
Will changing your focus take all of the busyness and stress away? Probably not. But it will help you fight against the Holly Jolly Hurricane. And your celebration will more closely honour the One who is the reason for the party.
By Matthew Ruttan
- To help get you thinking, here is a post with 23 practical ideas to colour your Christmas with service. Some are specific to where I live in Barrie, Ontario, but most are applicable to any location.
- Today’s “Up!” is based on my 24-minute Sunday podcast at Westminster. It’s called “Saving Christmas (From Ourselves)” and you can listen in here. Enjoy!