The Reason for the Season

There’s a phrase that has appeared in Christmas lights upon homes across America, maybe even the world, during the Time of Christmas atleast since I was a child. “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” When I was younger, I always thought it was cool to see these words glittering in the many windows we passed by during the Christmas light tour my family would venture out on every year. Typically, the phrase was accompanied by a nativity scene – some were simple or luxurious, and everything in between. My favorite to see – and to a certain extent even now – was when they had Santa Claus kneeling at the manger of the Christ Child. As a kid Jesus truly was the reason for the season, as it was because of Him that we have this “Holyday” set aside in the first place. However, it wasn’t until the past decade of my life that I’ve discovered how inaccurate this phrase is.

I know those who put this phrase on the front window of their home or business have good intentions. They want to make Christ the center of what they confess as Christians, especially during what has now become a holiday based upon commercialization and self-satisfaction. Consequently, I don’t want it to seem that I’m trying to belittle those who use this phrase to celebrate the birth of their Lord Jesus. I’ve discovered, however, that this phrase doesn’t go far enough. Why? From my experience “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” far too quickly become solely about our praise for our God. Yes, I know, praising is fine and dandy since praising God is an important aspect of the spirituality of a Christian. If you don’t praise God, typically something is wrong and needs to be cared for. Yet, if that’s all being a Christian is about, praising God, we become no better than pagans.

The pagans know that a god is to be served and to submit to whoever that god maybe. It’s a natural thing to do that is built into our human nature and thinking. Yet, that god who needs me to serve them and that is all I’m supposed to do is a selfish god who only wants to be acknowledged and is a lazy, self-seeking, self-interested god. They become like a rich person who builds for themselves a huge mansion with a multitude of servants to attend to them. But that person, yet, is the only one truly able to “live” in the house with no one else to share with them what they have worked so hard to create. That’s not the god I want, nor should you want.

Instead, I want a God who wants to care for me, just like any child wishes from their parents. A God who protects me from the danger of the world and all evil. I want a God who loves me and whom then I can love in return because of what He does for me. I don’t need a god who needs me to serve them. If a god needs me to serve them, that is a weak god and a god not worth believing in. Instead, I want a God whose power comes when He loves me and loves it when I serve Him out of my love for Him. This is the God I can have a relationship with.

As I mature as a theologian, not to mention as one given the gift of faith, I’ve paid attention to the rhetoric God uses to speak with and describe Himself with. I will admit: this realization also comes after becoming a husband and father myself over the past decade or so of my life. But, have you noticed: God calls Himself Father, and He does it for a reason. By God calling Himself Father He wants you to take to heart that He wants to have a relationship with His people, with you, just like a good father wants with his children: a relationship of acts of love and respect, a relationship based on forgiveness.

So, how does this tie back to “Jesus is the Reason for the Season?” It’s a subtle change, but a very important change: “You are the Reason for the Season.” The truth stands, therefore, just as the creeds confess why we believe in Jesus Christ our lord,

who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried. And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.”[1]

Jesus did what He did so you can live as a free, forgiven child who has, through His merits alone, eternal life and salvation. Jesus came to fulfill a specific purpose for you specifically. Jesus came down from heaven to live, die, rise, and ascend for you, so that He can be with you and you with Him in Glory one day. This is the God of love we all need and, I pray therefore, would want to be our God. This means your God is a God who through the Son, Jesus, releases you from the bondage of sin and a heavy conscience you bring upon yourself time and time again. Christ, your God, is real a God who comes to conquer your real sentence of death by taking your death upon Himself. A God who comes to free you from a heavy, guilt ridden conscience that fears the wrath you deserve and petrifies you, keeping you from getting out of bedding or walking out your front door. Yes, you are the reason for the season.

Jesus coming for you, your benefit, and your wellbeing is truly what Christmas is all about and proclaims. Christmas is your Lord coming in the flesh to perform specific acts of love in order that you would live a life boldly, a life free from the bondage of sin, death, and the Devil. You are the reason for the season. The reason this season, for all this celebrating is because Christ comes for your forgiveness, life, and salvation. Please, don’t forget any of this, because when your faith centers on “Christ for you,” this truth changes the life of all who are downtrodden and heavy laden by life. It brings peace and joy to those who need rest. And, let’s face it, we all need peace and rest.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

YOU ARE THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!

[1] From second article of the Nicene Creed. Emphasis added.

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