What if Christmas looked a lot more like Jesus?

Every year we celebrate Christmas, the birth of our Savior. Every year we try to make it meaningful. Yet we seem to end up with shopping, baking, credit cards, crazy spending and crazy schedules. A non-stop exhausting December can be an experience that some years we barely survive. Have you ever stopped to think How would Jesus celebrate?

Would he race from event to event? Would he spend money on stuff that people don’t need? Or would he give generously to meet the needs that really matter? Would he make time for the people around him? What if Christmas looked a lot more like Jesus? What would that look like and how would we recognize him?

A host of angels told a group of shepherds how to recognize him. “The Savior yes, the Messiah, the Lord has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2: 11-12 NLT

Jesus the Kings of Kings, could have been born in the most elaborate palace on the planet, but he chose to keep it simple. The shepherds found the greatest gift ever given, Jesus, wrapped in simple cloths and in a makeshift cradle. What if our Christmas season looked more like that? What if our celebrating focused on the greatest gift, Jesus, without getting all wrapped up in all the stress to find bigger and better gifts this year? Now don’t get me wrong, I like to get Christmas presents; it is exciting to pull off the wrappings and see what is inside. However I am learning to value the simplicity of Christmas done Bethlehem style, in a style that reflects Christ. A Christmas that looks like Jesus would be wrapped in his greatest teaching; it would be really quite simple. Simply we would love God and love others.

This Christmas, what if you bought less stuff and then blessed someone who is in real need? What if you determined to have uninterrupted and unhurried time with others? What if you truly celebrated with the people in your life? What if worship was more important than a “perfect” Christmas? Let’s be honest, consumerism does not equal happiness, memories, contentment, fulfilment or meaning. When Christmas begins and ends with the simplicity of worshiping Jesus, Christmas becomes truly meaningful.

This Christmas can be different. This Christmas less is more less spending and more giving, less hurry and more time, less me and more Jesus. Simply, a Christmas that looks more like Jesus.

The Rev. Jeff Heber is pastor of West Minot Church of God, Minot.