When I was in high school I remember walking into a room where painters were working away. I was overwhelmed by the paint fumes.
I asked one of them how they could stand all the fumes. He replied, “What fumes?”
They had become so used to them that they didn’t even notice anymore!
In a similar way, we can normalize the craziness of Christmas. Just like the painters, we’ve normalized something that can be very unhealthy for us, including over-the-top expenses, busyness and unrealistic expectations.
So shooting for a Christmas that is MEANINGFUL can make all the difference.
In Matthew 1: 21 it says Jesus came to “save his people from their sins.” It implies that (a) people have sins to be saved from, and (b) that there’s a Saviour who can do it.
But believing and admitting those two things is counter-cultural. And yet, I think people are frustrated, frantic, and unhappy when they deny them.
Harold Kushner observes, “How did we get into this situation where, in a world full of more people than ever before and with entire industries dedicated to making us happy, so many people find themselves lonely and unhappy? I think the reasons for our plight are individualism, the myth of independence, and the competitiveness which is at the heart of our culture.”
Yup. These things are the muck on our boots not the wind at our backs.
Remember that you are broken—no matter how strong or good you think you are. You can’t live abundantly or get right with God and others on your own.
But that’s okay. There’s a Saviour who can do it. That’s part of what Christmas is all about.
As ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’ reminds us:
“Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled.”
Have the courage to admit you’re a sinner who needs a Saviour. And the meaning and peace of Christmas will rest more securely in your soul. It’s not a popular way of thinking these days…
But it’s true.
By Matthew Ruttan
- Today’s Up! is partly based on my Sunday podcast at Westminster. You can listen in to the 24-minute message here. It’s called “W.W.J.D. – What Would Joseph Do? (His Courage and Yours)” Enjoy!