As a kid, I loved Christmas. The musics, the cookies, and the reprieve from anything that constituted work. That’s partly why I became a teacher. (Not really.)
But now, as a pastor and former church tech, Christmas means more work, not less. There are services to plan, whole buildings to decorate, printables to design, and a whole host of others issues that must be considered. Then, add to all of this my family obligations as both a husband and father, and the whole holiday becomes more of an ordeal than a delight.
This is the problem with so much in the Western world: we find ways to suck the joy out of everything. We work on Thanksgiving and Christmas. We use our social media platforms more and more to market ourselves and less and less to actually connect with others. It’s tragic and ridiculous at the same time. We are the prisoners of our compulsive desire to work.
This is rarely as clearly demonstrated as it is in our dealings with God.
So much of our attempt to connect with God is based upon what we do. We pray. We read the Scripture. We sing. We attend. We keep trying to do more in order to be more close to God.
And yet, that’s the antithesis of the message of Christmas.
At Christmas, God came to a people who could not, on their own, come to Him. Jesus didn’t come to be our example of the right way to live. He came to disabuse of us the very idea that we could ever live the right life. Instead, He came to live out God’s life and then die our death, so that, by virtue of His death and resurrection, we could be empowered to do what God has called us to do.
Without this, without Christmas, we would be left to ourselves, left to our devices, left to be endlessly working and toiling for a unattainable prize: our own salvation.
It’s no coincidence that Paul talk about the “wages of sin” being death and that life is the “gift of God.” God gives us gifts that no amount of work could ever earn.
So as you hurry about, doing good work that must be done for your church for Christmas, keep this thought in your heart: God has already done the greatest work through Jesus, and He wants you to find rest in Him.