This is an article I wrote for our local newspaper, the Central Oregonian.
Does that offend you? I don’t blame you if it does because I too loathe the removal of the word Christ from Christmas.
However isn’t X-Mas a better title for the holiday that we celebrate on December 25th each year? Christmas has so little to do with Christ why not change the name? But it’s not just Christmas that no longer has Christ as its focus. Those of us who follow Jesus are called Christians but many of us should probably change the name of our religion to X-tian because our lives, like Christmas, have little or nothing to do with Jesus.
Christians have replaced Jesus with Self. Self-esteem, Self-help, Self-love, and SELFishness are the Kings of our life. All the while attaching Jesus to our self consumed lifestyle never giving it a second thought because certainly Jesus wants me to be happy…right?
Jesus came to the earth for one purpose; “to seek and to save that which is lost” (Luke 19:10). He didn’t come to give you a better life, or to fix your marriage, or to solve your financial difficulties. He came to rescue sinners from certain judgment. Jesus, the Creator of the Universe, humbled Himself and took on human flesh so that He could bridge the gap between a Holy God and sinful man (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus longs to have a relationship with you; a real and vital relationship that is rooted in the Word of God and not this world’s narcissistic mindset.
My friends Jesus did not leave the glory of heaven and endure all the suffering of the cross so that you could fulfill the American dream. The gospel was never intended to give you a better life or make you a better person, the gospel is about death to self so that you can have new life and become a new person.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have come new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Now that isn’t to say that if you give your life to Jesus and allow Him to give you new life that it won’t make your life better, improve your marriage, or help you through your financial struggles, but those things are only the result of completely surrendering self to the message of the gospel. To follow Jesus means that we completely abandon self. It means that we recognize our spiritual poverty; and our inability to approach God apart from His grace and love.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
Let’s put Christ back in Christmas, this holiday season, by admitting our need for Him and making Him the center and focus of everything we do.