Every Friday in Sacred Space, Brad Williams explores the place of popular culture in the local church.
This year, Christmas will fall on a Sunday, the day set aside to gather with a local body of believers to worship the One True God. This Sunday, we will be able to place special attention on the fact that this God invaded our world as a man, that he took on flesh and blood, that he became a baby, then a toddler, then a teenager, and finally a grown man, and that he did this to save us from our sins.
I confess that it is hard for me to get my head clear for worship this Sunday, and I suspect it may be for you as well. We’ve had so many distractions: buying gifts, wondering if Wal-Mart greeters will say “Merry Christmas”, Santa Claus manger scenes, what to tell kids about Santa, elves on shelves, and putting up Christmas Trees. On top of all of this we have to juggle our Christmas schedules to include, mom, dad, and the spouse’s mom and dad, and if both your parents and your spouse’s parents are divorced and you have living grandparents, Christmas gets busy in a hurry.
So Sunday’s service will probably feel a little rushed for us, won’t it? We’ll be thinking of gifts and family and food and places we have to get to after church. It’s madness, really. So much to do and so many things competing for our attention. It sure makes it hard for a Christian to have a moment of peace to contemplate the glory of God’s peace offering in Christ, which is a tremendous irony when you think about the angelic announcement on that first Christmas morning:
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! (Luke 2:14).
Peace? Peace at Christmas? Yes! We ought to have peace and great joy at Christmas, and I pray that you will find it in the haven of your local church this Christmas Sunday. Here are a few suggestions of how you might find peace on Christmas morning:
First, try not to look at Christmas’ service as one more thing you do on Christmas. Think of it this way, brother or sister, the closest you will ever get to a manger scene in this life is being with a bunch of people who have gathered to worship Jesus. The wise men came from the east to see the Christ, and in your fellowship you will see gathered men and women from everywhere, all walks of life, some perhaps from far away places, to sit and adore the one God made flesh. You will sing songs to Jesus on Sunday, songs we Christians have been singing for hundreds of years to express our gratitude and amazement that God would condescend to make his cradle in a food trough.
And all those people, every last one of them that you will see, they all need this baby boy who was born a pauper king. We need him, not only to save us, but to rule over us. God sent His Son to give us peace, peace from our struggle with sin, peace from family strife, and peace from wars that will maim and kills hundreds this year. But most of all, Jesus has come to offer us peace with God. What other thing could God have given us to better show us His willingness to demonstrate His earnestness to be reconciled? He has said, “Here…I’m serious. Stop rebelling. I give you my Son, my only Son in whom I am well-pleased. Repent and love Him and all will be forgiven.”
Please, this Christmas Sunday, don’t let the Christmas hustle cause you to make church one more thing on your busy schedule. Be at peace, and rejoice with your family: God has given us His Son!