By Paul Gilbert
Whelp, it’s that time of year. It’s time to crank up the next round of our Annual Pitched Battle over the Reason for the Season. On one side we have the secular humanists, ready to shove a stick of dynamite into every public Nativity scene between Killearn and Crawfordville. Across the street from these folks we have the Holiday Warriors, religious folk looking for the first opportunity to shout, “Merry Christmas!” at an unsuspecting Target employee. While the gulf between “Happy Kwanza!” and “Merry Christmas” is great indeed, there DOES seem to be one thing that almost everyone agrees on every December: this is the time of the year to celebrate.
Whether you are a Christian, agnostic, atheist, once-a-year churchgoer, or “spiritual but not religious” kind of person, everyone, it seems, is celebrating. Now WHAT everyone is celebrating may be different, but the presents, lights, food, pageantry, stockings, music, and festive parties are all making a loud statement that we are indeed CELEBRATING.
Now, don’t worry, I am NOT about to hate on this idea of celebrating at Christmas time. In fact, I will be angry at you if you DON’T celebrate ☺! As believers, though, there is another aspect of our “Christmasing” that we don’t want to forget this year. I want us to remember that in addition to the “celebration,” we also want to be all about the “affirmation.” What I mean by this is that it’s not simply enough to remember and throw a party and celebrate the birth and coming of Jesus – anyone can do that, and many, many do. We must also, though, be crystal clear about what exactly it is that we are AFFIRMING about Jesus.
This issue is one of the reasons that we are going to be spending the next four Sundays together in an Advent Series called “Christmas is Creed.” It’s going to be built around this idea that there are a lot of conceptions about who Jesus actually IS, but not all of them are equally valid. You see, there is a kind of knowledge and belief in Christ that brings life and saves and connects us to God the Father. There is another kind of knowledge about Christ that doesn’t save and doesn’t bring life - because it’s not true.
Do you know the difference?
Pray with me as we take this journey together during the month of December.
Listen to the 2017 Advent sermons here