It is often said that Christmas is more for children than adults. Or, at least, that we should all try to experience Christmas like a child. This vision is echoed in the many advertisements, Christmas songs and TV specials this time of year. As Buddy from the movie Elf reminds us (the BEST Christmas movie, no contest), “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear,” and without those pesky adult inhibitions to stop them, his newfound friends compel a huge crowd to belt out a Christmas tune and get Santa’s sleigh off the ground.
While it’s hard to fault Buddy for trying to get everyone to embrace the child-like joy of over-the-top decorations, snowball fighting and eating a bit too much sugar, I’d also like him to know (you know, IF he were a real person and all) that my love and enthusiasm for Christmas have not diminished but deepened as I’ve gotten older – and it’s not because I recovered a more youthful outlook.
What fuels my joy is a deepening understanding and wonder of God’s great love for me. My maturity has served to show me how beautifully orchestrated every aspect of Christ’s arrival was. In our Connect Group, we’ve been looking at how God spoke through prophets hundreds of years prior to Christ’s birth to make it that much more monumental when he finally arrived, exactly as planned.
And remembering these prophecies means so much for me, right now, just as it did back then. As pastor John Piper once said…
We should never forget that everything the prophets predicted about the future was always intended to produce obedience in the present…If the study of prophecy does not produce sanctification, it is being studied wrong. If gazing into the future [or past] hinders our responsiveness to present needs, we may be sure that we are not gazing with the eyes of God.
This is why my love for Christmas grows with age. Gazing at God’s past, present, and future promises fulfilled in Christ profoundly affects my present. It shapes my current worldview. It teaches me how to live. It brings clarity, hope, peace, and joy to my Christmas in 2021.
As we prepare to experience all the excitement of this season, once again, remember that Christ’s birth is not just a message to hang on your mantle once a year, but one that is meant to fuel your holiness and make you a better disciple today. As we gather for Christmas Eve and this coming Sunday, I pray you experience the true joy of Christmas in bigger, brighter and more vivid ways than ever before.