Sixty-five percent Americans want the Christmas season to be more about Jesus, according to a recent Lifeway research poll. The survey featured more than 1,000 Americans from all different religions and backgrounds. Jesus is – and has always been – the reason that we celebrate this time of the year, so Christians should be encouraged to see that two-thirds of Americans still want Christmas to be about more than Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty.
However, the 2018 study also shows that more people do not know if Christmas should be about Jesus than in 2014. Another 19 percent of respondents said that Christmas does not need to be about Jesus at all. This should be a call to action for Christians to reach unbelievers with the love of Jesus Christ. Romans Chapter 10 says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Needing Jesus is nothing new. He knows that we are helpless without his redemption and love. Jesus himself says in John 6, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst…For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life.” We need the eternal food that Christ offers. Christians are called to love and serve one another so that Christ’s name is proclaimed throughout the world. We must share the gospel this Christmas season to reveal the hope of Christ to all of those who do not know what Christmas is truly about.
This research exposes our society’s longing for the joy of Christ. Over the years, Americans have increasingly made the holidays about material things –how much we can give and receive. Our commercialized culture has overtaken the real reason that we give gifts and celebrate this season!
Jesus says in Matthew 6, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” American society today has chosen to love money –a treacherous master that leaves all who trust its promises unsatisfied. Spending money during the holidays is not a bad thing, but it becomes harmful when we forget to pray and remember the gifts the Lord has already provided. Are we walking with Jesus and seeking Him this Christmas or focused on how much we are spending and buying?
Money and material wealth cannot satisfy our souls or replace our need for God. This Christmas, for our own sake, for the sake of those who do not know Jesus, and for the glory of the Lord, we must remember to refocus our love on Christ. Jesus is the entire reason that we celebrate. Living a life that is centered on the goodness and glory of God will make Christmas full of the true joy that only comes from knowing Jesus.
Author and Baptist Pastor John Piper says, “There’s the simple, short, spectacular exultation of 2 Corinthians 9:15: ‘Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!’ The very essence of Christmas includes a divine overflow of generosity, kindness, grace, giving — doing for us, giving to us, what we could never do for ourselves or get on our own. The ultimate gift is God. God gives God.” He emphasizes the beauty in gifts and in celebrating the Christmas season because we remember what God has done for us by coming down to earth. Christians get to re-gift this good news to others because Jesus first gave his life for us.
Here at IRD, we pray for the increasing numbers of Americans who dismiss the importance of Jesus’ birth. We pray also for those who continue to believe in the true reason for Christmas. There can be a redemption of the Christmas spirit if we remember our savior who was born so that we could know the love of God. He has given us the greatest gift of grace and eternal life.
This is the hope of Christmas, that all will know Jesus and find their life and joy in him.