Don’t cram Jesus in your tree box.

I know the title of this seems pretty silly but this is what popped in my head as I was trying to stuff my perfectly puffed Christmas tree into the teeny-tiny box its packaged in at the factory. As a side note, I am convinced that an artificial tree never goes back into the original box how it came out, no matter how strategically thought out the act is. 

This is when it hit me, maybe our trees don’t fit into their original boxes because once they are out, puffed, adorned with ornaments,are the center of the families focus during the holiday, climbed by the family cat, took out by the small children running around, and worked up to be the most important element that shines over the multitude of gifts that the children (and even adults) drool over; we try cramming the entire Christmas season into that measly cardboard box. You see if you’d leave Jesus out of your tree box things might fit a little better. 

The illustration I’m trying to get at here is this:

Many people post on social media their support of the Christmas season in ways like,  “Jesus is the reason for the season”, “Keep Christ in Christmas”, and my all time favorite; “I refuse to say Happy Holidays, only Merry Christmas”. I understand their drive is to keep Jesus first during Christmas, but by doing this they are really the ones taking Christ out of Christmas. I say that because most of the time you see these posts and everyone jumps on the band wagon, but then the New Year comes around and it’s a race to see who can get their tree and lights down the quickest. I’m not saying that the decorations are what keeps this season around but my thoughts on the whole season are maybe a little different. 

Yes, Jesus is the “reason for the season” but He is also the reason I woke up this morning, the reason I’m saved, and the reason my sinful self is presented blameless in the eyes of God. He is the one that makes all of these things come into play, but He does these things EVERYDAY, not just during Christmas, not only during Easter, but everyday He offers grace, everyday he offers eternity, and everyday he offers hope. 

As the decorations come down and the new wears off the presents; the giving lessens, the “holiday cheer” becomes dust, the outward Jesus talk becomes less. You see if we all kept a fire under us to protect, proclaim, and spread the good news of Christ year round we would suddenly be doing what Christ has called us to do, grow HIS kingdom!

Around Christmas time you see lots of families buying angel tree gifts, stuffing shoeboxes, and being more apt to give to the beggar on the corner. As New Years comes around new budgets and goals become priority and when you see a single mother struggling to get by, God tugs on your heart and you quickly have a pre-printed list of excuses to hand God, as a way to wash your hands of the situation. Trust me, I’m guilty of the arguments with God, when He’s tugging my heart in one direction and I’m resisting like a mule going the other. Just think if we all stayed in that “holiday cheer” mindset of the aching thought of that person spending the day all alone. I promise there are many people that are cold and hungry every other day of the year too.

 I know all of these things are done in good nature with intentions to spread the hope of Christ to all, but as Christians how about we be the hands and feet of Christ throughout the entire year! Let us show those that receive the Christmas pill of hope, that we stand behind what we are doing for them, that we care enough to follow through with our “holiday” actions. Set a new tone for the outsiders view of Christianity and give them the bread of life that we all take for granted.

Jesus was born in a manger to bring life to us year round, not just one hyped up season out of the year. He was born of a virgin, He lived a blameless life, He died on the cross for our sins, and He rose again to breathe life into us, so we could breathe life to those around us.I know many have already put their Christmas decorations away and moved on to the new year, but please evaluate if Jesus was crammed in your tree box, put away with your stuffed santas, or sent back to the North Pole with those creepy little stuffed elves. When you find Him, let Him reside in your home and your life everyday. I challenge you to spread “Jesus Cheer” throughout the the entirety of your year. You’ll be amazed how much room is left in your tree box and how much more room is left in your heart, to share with those around you.

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