Sunday, December 9, 2012

Beyond Christmas

{Being a Christian is so much more than celebrating Christmas}

Our friends recently decided to host a foreign exchange student from Vietnam. She has lived in the country for 3 months. We just met her a few days ago for the first time, at our annual couples Christmas party (where we play fun/hysterical games and have a white elephant gift exchange).

While we were laughing and doing ridiculous things, of course my deep/reflective side looked over at her and wondered what she was thinking about all of this? She was laughing and even participating in a few games, but I wondered what she was thinking? Are Americans crazy? What is this “Christmas” they celebrate? Why are they giving each other Sponge Bob coffee mugs and weird framed pictures?

Which made me wonder . . . does she even know the true meaning of Christmas? Does she know we really gather to celebrate Jesus, not just have a fun evening with our friends (thought that’s a bonus). Of course this was not the intention of the night, but it did make me wonder . . .

If people look into my life, do they know the true meaning of why we celebrate Christmas?
Do they understand why Jesus was a gift to the world?
Do they see me imitating His incarnational living?
Do they feel loved by me?
Do I shine my light brightly?
Does my life proclaim Christ, even if I don’t say a word?

How much of our Christmas is really about CHRIST?
How much of our life is really about Christ?
We all say Jesus is the reason for the season, but how so?
Would people know you as a Christ follower all year round or just because you insist on “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays”?

It reminded me of my friend asking the question someone asked her:
“If the government came to your house to arrest you for being a Christian, would they know you were one by looking at where you spent your time, your talent, and your treasures?”

If they looked at your weekly schedule, would they see a Christ follower?
If they looked at your bank account, would they see a Christ follower?
If they recorded your conversations, would they hear a Christ follower?

I know. Gulp.

I honestly think that if this foreign exchange student doesn’t understand the true meaning of Christmas or know the gospel, she will by the time she leaves this country. Maybe not because of the games we played that night, but because the people hosting her proclaim Christ in their home, in their marriage, in their finances, in their lives . . .

They know Jesus is not the reason JUST for this season, but the reason for every season. I want my life to proclaim that. I want people to be able to look into any part of my life and see a Christ follower. I want people to see Christ in me by the way I speak to my husband, by the way I handle my finances, by the was I treat the poor and oppressed, by the way I serve the lost AND the found.

I want Him to be known.

I want to give honor to the King with much more than lip service. I want to celebrate the incarnation of Christ every season, not just in December. I want to do it in a way that is generous, courageous, obvious, and loving.

I want to be known as Christian not just because I “celebrate Christmas” and speak of Christ one day a year, but because I follow Christ and proclaim Him with my life 365 days a year.

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