There I said it.
I don’t mean that I am tired of Christmas this year. I mean, as a Christian and as a pastor, I am tired of the Christmas story. I am now 44 years old. I have been a Christian for 36 years of that time. I have been a preacher for the last 23 years of this time too. Every year I have had to listen to 3-4 sermons about the Christmas story or more. Many years I have had to preach those sermons. Couple that with all the Sunday School lessons, youth lessons, special programs and candlelight programs it makes a whole lot of Christmas.
Before you label me as a Scrooge, please hear me out. There is not a lot in the Bible about the birth of Jesus. It comes down to several stories in the books of Matthew (chapters 1-2) and Luke (chapters 1-3). Mark has nothing. John has a couple of veiled references. The rest of the Bible contains a handful of prophecies and a couple of passing references. There is very little information on the pages of scripture.
On top of that, nowhere are we instructed to observe the birth of Jesus. We are told to remember his death and resurrection but nothing on the birth. The celebration of his birth is added to the list of holidays much later in history. It has more secular roots than religious.
And yet, every year Christians and the Church spend the weeks from Thanksgiving to Christmas talking about the birth of Jesus. In religious circles, it is called “Advent.” The word is defined as the arrival of a notable person. This is the season we celebrate the arrival of Jesus as a human being into the world he created.
I would argue that most of us know the scriptural stories of Christmas far more than any other part of the Bible. We know all about angels, shepherds, wise men and the birth of a baby in a stable. Mary and Joseph are some of the most well-known Bible characters. In fact, when I talk about Joseph in the book of Genesis I refer to him as “Joseph, not the one of the Christmas story.”
With all of that said, I am tired of Christmas.
I do not mean that I am not thankful for Christmas. I am thankful that God sent his son to this earth. Recently I reread a passage that struck me. 1 John 3:8 (NIV) ends with this statement “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” I am thankful that God sent his son to do battle with the forces of evil and secure a victory for my soul.
I like that image so much that I am thinking about preaching a Christmas series on “Jesus the Destroyer” one year. None of the traditional characters of the story – just Jesus, Satan, a cross and a bloody battle. The children may or may not like it. Parents will be frustrated and maybe frightened. But I bet no one will be bored.
Anyone with me?