Look Like Christmas
*This article was originally published on ChurchandGospel.com on December 14, 2016.*
For the last three years, my oldest son has asked for a sleigh for Christmas. He has seen scenes of snow in Christmas shows, and wants to participate in the fun. Each year, we have to remind him that we live in Charleston, South Carolina, which means snow is a low percentage option for Christmas!
Driving down the road listening to Christmas music recently, I heard the opening to a familiar tune, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go.”
I initially chuckled, thinking about how much our part of the world just does not have a distinct Christmas look compared to other locations, but then began to ponder what Christmas does look like “everywhere I go.”
I then began to think of a recent trip to Wal-Mart where the person behind me in line had to clarify to another shopper that they were merely standing in a certain spot to avoid blocking a lane and did not want to start a holiday shopping brawl. Words that I found humorous and potentially unneeded at the time, suddenly began to have more impact. The memory of the recent outing was showing me a different portion of what Christmas looks like everywhere we go.
There has been a significant increase in traffic on the road, retail shoppers, and interactions between complete strangers the last few weeks. Each of these experiences will only increase as we get closer to December 25. And we have a chance to impact what Christmas looks like to those we encounter.
Ordinary People Doing Ordinary Things with Gospel Intentionality
What is your plan to navigate the stressful community you will encounter over the next two weeks until Christmas? Use your house as a bunker and do not come out until New Years? Go out only when absolutely necessary, with fists clenched, waiting to release your stress on the first unsuspecting person that crosses your path? These answers may seem humorous or may even make you feel uncomfortable, and they should because they are contrary to why we are placed on this earth and remain. Scripture tells Christians to be a light to the world. When you became a Christian, you did not go straight to heaven. We remain on this earth with a purpose. And that purpose is to share the love of Christ with others, that God’s glory would be revealed to the nations. That is the sole reason we remain, and must become more of a priority in our decision making.
A phrase coined by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis in their book, Total Church, calls Christians to be “ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality.” This phrase is then echoed by my former pastor, Tony Merida, at Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, and also in his book, Ordinary: How to the the World Upside Down. This concept is not calling all Christians to quit their jobs, sell all of their belongings, and join forces in a commune away from the rest of the world. In fact, that would be an epic failure of our Great Commission calling to take His glory to the world.
We are called to live as light to the world. We must be intentional with how we live out our daily lives. And each one of us has been called and gifted to do so! We must live in a way that is considered separate from those that are not Christians, and be noticed by those that are not Christians. This season between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a perfect opportunity each year for Christians to celebrate the birth of our Savior for a whole month!
Looking a Lot Like Christmas
Christian, we have an amazing opportunity over the next two weeks where our culture and our community will actually invite us to share with them the hope that we have within us. We cannot waste this amazing opportunity! Each year we have a chance to live out the gospel to those around and speak the gospel to those around us from Thanksgiving to Christmas without any fear of rejection or oppression. Did you catch that?
Our culture has given Christians an entire month to celebrate the birth of our Savior!!
So, as the song I mentioned at the start of this article says, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” Let us rally as Christians and begin to write a sequel to this song with how we celebrate the birth of our Savior during the Christmas season by living out lives as ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality, living as lights into our community for the glory of Jesus our Savior!