We’re in the Christmas spirit at the Credo House. We probably have the world’s largest fake tree proudly decorated to the max inside. I’m not kidding, it’s over 20 feet tall! We’re serving all sorts of Christmas season special coffee drinks. Our St. Nicholas frappuccino is flying off the shelf. The other day I was sipping on our egg nog Latte, listening to Christmas music bounce off the Credo walls, watching Elf playing on our largest flat screen t.v. when one of our baristas walked in the door for his shift. This barista is probably our most “hipster” of all our baristas. I love this guy.
He came up to me with a look on his face I hadn’t seen before. It reminded me of the look that must have been on the face of Jesus when He said, “How long must I be with these people?” Our barista surprised me by his question. He said, “Are we really going to be playing Christmas music all month?”
I must admit I was taken back a little bit. I responded, “Probably.” Once again I got the, “How long must I remain with these people?” look. In an instant my mind was filled with other times in my life where I’ve encountered scrooges in training. We can all be scrooges in training. Here are several ways we can be too cool for Christmas:
1. Too Unique for Christmas
I think our barista fell into this category. No one wants to feel like they’re just a 9-digit social security number. Out of the 7 billion people on the planet we each want to be valued for our individual worth. It’s easy to get into the mindset, “If other people like it I don’t.” If everyone loves a certain musical artist, I’ll find an indie group no one has ever heard of. If everyone loves a certain team, I’ll set myself apart by being too unique to lower myself to the bandwagon. If everyone wears a certain style of clothing, I’ll differentiate myself with an eclectic wardrobe. I want people to remember my unique contribution to the world.
The people in this group continually think, “I am unique and need to stay that way in all areas of life.” If millions of people love Christmas, not me. I’m out, give me a break. I’m too cool for Christmas.
The problem with this mindset is Jesus. Jesus is the unique One. Do you know any other God-mans? Do you know anyone else who invites you to be adopted into the family of God? Do you know anyone else who bids you to throw your life away and take His life. And it is truly an upgrade? If you want to set yourself apart, follow the only God-man who has ever stepped foot on this planet. Christmas is the only time when the arrival of Jesus rightfully takes center stage. Don’t be too unique for Christmas.
2. Too Old for Christmas
If we aren’t careful we will all start thinking Christmas is just for kids. Yes, I’m planning this coming Saturday on taking my three little kids to sit on the lap of Santa. Did you know he’s going to be at Quail Springs Mall in Oklahoma City, OK? My kids are so excited they can barely see straight.
My two year old daughter screams every time we’re driving around at night and she sees a house with Christmas lights up. She’ll say, “Lights! Dad! Lights! Dad!” as loud as she can until I acknowledge her. Then 5 seconds later we drive by another house and it starts all over.
I can become calloused by my kids exuberance for Christmas. Yeah, I was that excited when I was little too. My innocence, however, is gone. I now know how much those presents cost. I’m just too old for Christmas.
Let’s not get caught up in that thinking. Yes, I’m not as innocent as my children. Lights on a house don’t cause me to scream. I know, however, about the true darkness of the world more than my 2 year old. I know what it’s like to feel like your world has gone dark. I should appreciate the Light of the World more than my kids. God has filled my neighborhood with houses shining light. For 30+ days I will drive past and be reminded of the bright light of Jesus. My worship is not as external as my little Gracie’s screams, but it should be deeper and filled with more lasting joy. Don’t be too old for Christmas.
3. Too Smart for Christmas
These are the people who will bring up everything they can to make you feel dumb for celebrating Christmas. Do you know Jesus wasn’t really born on December 24th? Do you know Christmas just replaced a pagan holiday? Go ahead, if you want to be a simpleton, celebrate with the rest of the pagans.
Can you imagine a person laying prostrate on their face before their God on December 24th. They cannot believe that the Creator would step into His creation. They cannot believe He would leave paradise to become a being with bowel movements. They are undone that He chose to die on a cross to rescue my soul for God. They are praying, “Jesus, thank you for coming tonight! Thank you for stepping into my world tonight!”
Do you think God would summon Gabriel and say, “Hey Gabriel, check this out, this idiot thinks all this actually happened on December 24th. What a joke.” I’m pretty sure the Lord doesn’t mind a world in worship on December 24th.
4. Too Christian for Christmas
This mindset is unfortunately pretty common. If we aren’t careful those who walk with the Lord every day will get mad at people who come to church at this time. We can start hating Christmas because our usual parking spot at church is taken by some submarine Christian. This is a Christian who only surfaces for Christmas and Easter.
We’ll also start hating Christmas because of Santa Claus. As I’ve been studying the Council of Nicea more this past year I’ve really come to love Saint Nick. I’m actually really thankful for the prominence of Santa Claus during this time of year. Why? Because he’s easily redeemable. Saint Nick loved Jesus so much that he secretly gave gifts to poor kids around him. Any parent can turn that into a teachable moment.
Saint Nick was also a very passionate follower of Christ. Did you know Santa Claus was at the Council of Nicea? As Arius was trying to get the world to believe that Jesus was a creature, St. Nick firmly believed Him to be the Creator. Santa Claus got so ticked off at the irreverence of Arius, he actually slapped Arius in the face! For 30 days we get to be surrounded by such a great mentor. How can you hate Santa Claus? Make him a teachable moment and it’ll be 30 days of excellent Christology. Now the Easter bunny is an entirely different thing.
Don’t be too Christian for Christmas.
5. Too Hurt for Christmas
Many people, justifiably so, feel like they’re too hurt for Christmas. Counselors will agree that there’s a spike in people visiting offices surrounding the holiday season. For many people the Christmas season is a season of pain.
I do not quickly discount your pain. I only want to remind you of certain realities. It is by the stripes of Jesus that we are healed. Jesus is the only solution available to the human race which will ease the deepest hurt. He asked humanity, “Are you weary and heavy laden?” When the answer is yes, his response is, “Come to me and find rest for your soul.” If Christmas is a time of hurt, my prayer for you is for this season to be a month-long reassurance to you of the hope that can be found in the middle of hurt.
Please don’t be too Cool, Unique, Old, Smart, Christian or Hurt for Christmas.