I was having a conversation about Christmas today and it got me… a little frustrated.
Okay, maybe more than a little.
I was talking with a friend about how we were going to spend Christmas week and it very quickly turned into us asking each other questions about presents.
What are you gonna get your wife?
How much did you spend on the stocking stuffers?
Should we get our children one more gift?
I left to go to my next work appointment but the conversation kept bouncing around in my head.
Christmas had become about the transaction. What are you giving and getting?
Because when you read the actual story of Christmas and what it meant to early Christians, it was never about them. In fact, it wasn’t really about a gift at all.
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
— Philippians 2:5-11
Did you catch that? When Paul talks about the first Christmas he doesn’t talk about himself or others.
He talks about action.
Look at how much action there is in Paul’s reflection of the first Christmas. And look who’s at the center of all of it.
So… what does this mean for us?
Should we return all our gifts?
Should we burn our Christmas trees in the road?
But I do think it means that, as Paul says, we should have this mind ourselves.
This Christmas, take some time to think about one way you can be or act or have this mind like Jesus. Who can you serve? How can you empty yourself in love? Where can you stop being disobedient? What can you humble yourself in?
And make it practical. Go do something for someone — I truly think that being like Jesus is the greatest gift we can give our family, our friends, and the world.
And it doesn’t even require a trip to Target.
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