Christmas as we all know is a busy time of the year. People hustling and bustling about buying gifts, decorating trees, meeting relatives, running here running there. It is a never ending cycle! Just visit your local Westfields and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Many Christians are also caught in the frenzy and find little to no time to sit and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. For those who do take the time to sit and reflect find a surprising discovery of the ‘true’ meaning of Christmas.
Saturday night- people from around the area were driving into church. I was fortunate to get a car park. I didn’t expect such a turn out. A sea of cars as far as the eye could see was before me, a multitude of people streaming into church coming to hear the good news of Christmas. There were people directing the flow of traffic and there were others directing the flow of people. My friend and I were led to the entrance. We stumbled through the entrance making our way with a group of people through large doors which entered into a very large auditorium. There were at least a thousand chairs from what I observed. There were people everywhere in that building. It was an amazing sight to see such a turn out.
As people found their seats and settled, the room darkened and majestic music began to play. Words and images flashed across the screen captivating everyone and anyone who was in hearing and seeing distance. The music was joyous and the play spectacular. What an awesome experience. This went on for about an hour-an-half. The play was based on the ‘Grinch’ with some worldly songs. The gospel was nothing but another line to the play. It was watered down and hardly the emphasis of the night. This was the meaning of Christmas to this church. Sadness settles in my soul. Was this what I was to reflect on?
Monday afternoon- a small fellowship of believers (10-20 people) gathers at a local mall and set up chairs and instruments. Some begin to dress in their costumes while others are moving props and rehearsing lines. Ten minutes before starting time and this group of misfits are praying that God would do a mighty work in the lives of whoever would listen. The narration begins and characters take their place on stage. I look out into the crowd and see a handful stop and listen and then move on, others snickering, and others still who sit and enjoy the small production.
As the afternoon breeze cools down, people with small families stop and take a seat. They sit and listen to the scriptures being read and listen to carols being sung. The gospel is proclaimed and people are invited to respond. My soul resonates within to the truths being read, the truth that Jesus came to save His people from their sins. The story continues on past his birth and settles on a hill far away where Jesus died. There I listen to how Jesus suffered in our place and fulfilled the will of His Father. My heart deeply ponders the solemn words. My heart is then overjoyed when I hear that Jesus rose again conquering death and the grave!
The production finishes and people are reluctant to leave. A contemplative atmosphere was what I sensed. Candy is
handed out to those in the audience with an attachment which reads with words to the effect “Jesus Saviour of the world.” Was this what I was to reflect on? People from this fellowship speak to those around, the mall the warmth of the message echoed in the hearts as they shared the true meaning of Christmas.
Though both productions were enjoyable only one proclaimed the truth. It is sad to see that some churches have missed the meaning of Christmas. To the first church it was all about love and joy and giving and being kind, and though this sounds good and has a positive feel it does nothing for the soul of man which is condemned. That message seems to proclaim outward conformity and a feel-good spirit. The second church proclaimed the life-changing truth, and that is the gospel of Christ. This message is transforming and produces love and joy and giving but at the cost of Christ’s life.
My prayer is that as Christians we would find our source of merriment in the scriptures and the work of Christ in our lives. For this is truly where we will find love, joy, and peace.