Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Christmas Yearbook

When I was a junior in high school, we had a spirit week that led up to homecoming. During this week, every day was a fun dress-up day. On mismatch day, I went all out. I wore the tackiest, most uncoordinated outfit that I could imagine. In fifth period, a yearbook photographer came to our classroom looking to take spirit-filled photos. She took one look at me and asked if I would come out in the hallway for a photo-op. Of course, I jumped out of my seat lickety-split and headed to the door. Since it was mismatch day, I gave her my craziest pose – hands up in the air, head tilted to the side and mouth formed into a wide, goofy smile. I walked back to my seat knowing that my photo would be an awesome tribute to spirit week and mismatch day.

The following semester when the yearbook came out, I couldn’t wait to see if my photo made it into print. I instantly flipped through the pages of the large book, looking for my much-anticipated mismatch day tribute. When I finally found it, I was shocked! My photo was everything I wanted. It was wild, fun and uncoordinated. However, the only problem was that there was absolutely no mention of mismatch day. In fact, the caption listed my name and that I was showing off my particular, crazy style sense.

The photo now took on an entirely new meaning that had little to do with the realities of mismatch day. The photo was taken completely out of context and reconstructed within an alternate motive. I’m sure the photo was selected with mismatch day long forgotten, and the yearbook students were simply trying to capture a unique story. However, I still found the departure from the initial intent to be misleading.

If Christmas were a yearbook, it would be filled with many such mismatch stories. Our culture today produces a plethora of unique variations of the Christmas holiday, but sadly most of them have been taken completely out of context and reconstructed within an alternate motive. The true meaning of Christmas is quickly being forgotten, and individuals flip through the pages of today’s Christmas Yearbook both entertained and confused by all the variations of a single reality.

Laying aside the countless twinkling lights, reindeer, and Santas; Christmas is about a perfect God becoming flesh to save a creation separated by sin. God created a flawless world and flawless people, but He gave us free will. We chose to leave God’s righteousness, so sin penetrated our world, corrupting the earth and the hearts of people. Our sin formed a chasm between fallen humanity and their perfect Creator.

God knew we would fall short of His holiness, but instead of disregarding us altogether, He created a Redemption Plan: He would set aside His glory, enter our corrupted world and exchange His righteousness for our sins. The Creator of the Universe chose the name Jesus and took our mistakes, ugliness, and guilt because He loves us that much. He became a helpless baby in a manger, so we could have a personal relationship with Him.

This Christmas, let us enjoy all the fun holiday traditions that we hold so dear but let us also reflect on a Creator who loves us so much that He would die for us. True Christmas joy comes from a place of being loved, accepted and adored by our Heavenly Father. Thank Him today for His amazing gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. 

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).  (Matthew 1:23 NIV)

Copyright © 2018 Alisa Hope Wagner, used with permission.

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