Do We Celebrate Christmas or Sentimentality?

As you and your family celebrate Christmas this year take a moment to consider what it is you are actually celebrating. Is it the beauty of the decorated homes, the smells of the fresh-cut tree and Christmas dinner, or the joy of gathering with family? All good things, but is that Christmas or just sentimentality? So many of the popular Christmas songs – even those on Christian radio – seem to lean toward the feel-good concept of Christmas rather than the mind-boggling reality of Jesus’ incarnation. ‘White Christmas’ certainly tops the list but there’s one song – ‘Happy Birthday, Jesus” – that I think really misses the mark.

Happy birthday Jesus
I’m so glad its Christmas
All the carols and bells
Make the holiday swell
And it’s all about You
Happy birthday Jesus
Jesus I love You!

Very sweet and cute for sure. One problem. We don’t celebrate Jesus’ birthday on Christmas. We celebrate his birth. His arrival. The fact that this Savior came to earth and into our world as a living, breathing human. That reality knocks sentimentality right out the window. It’s not about carols and bells  making the holidays swell! It’s all about recognizing the indescribable power and majesty of the Creator of the universe humbling himself to endure human birth so that his creation might have life! Christmas means nothing without Easter. The joy of the Christmas manger is completely stripped away without the sorrow of the cross of Good Friday and the celebration of the empty tomb on Easter morning. If Jesus didn’t conquer death and remove the penalty of our sin there is little left to celebrate about his birth. What’s the point?

So enjoy Christmas with it’s decorations, gift giving, and family get-togethers. Celebrate with humility and awe the arrival of the Son of God – not as a conquering king, but as a little baby who came to die that we might live.

2 thoughts on “Do We Celebrate Christmas or Sentimentality?

  1. secondchair Post author

    I’m a pretty sentimental guy so I battle this constantly. I like the songs, the smells, the traditions but grow weary of Christmas celebrations reduced to a children’s story that keeps Jesus in the manger. Thanks for your comments Clarissa & Merry Christmas!

  2. Clarissa Holtz

    Thanks so much for sharing this….is pretty much puts into words what I have been thinking for the past few weeks. Also, I think it explains a lot of why so many people get depressed around Christmas. We rely so much on the feeling of nostalgia, that when we can’t manufacture it, then Christmas no longer feels joyful. And yet how truly joyful it would be if our hearts were truly fixated on the gospel, instead.

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