Advent Devotional: Skipping Christmas

Several years ago, the famed writer John Grisham wrote a holiday book, “Skipping Christmas.” The title sounds tempting.

Just think.  You disappear on Wednesday, November 28, and show back up on Sunday, January 6, 2019.  No crowded malls, no to-do-lists, no cards to mail, no worries about the perfect present, no maxed out credit cards.

By skipping Christmas, you may get to enjoy peace on earth, goodwill to men, and possibly even a Silent Night.

Sounds fun, huh?

The book “Skipping Christmas” was turned into a holiday movie titled “Christmas with the Kranks.” The plot begins with a dad (Luther Krank) who is upset that his family spent over $6,000 on the previous Christmas, and now they have little or nothing to show for it.  With his daughter in the Peace Corps, Krank convinces his wife to skip Christmas for a year, and use the cash for a Caribbean cruise. They avoid all the holiday accoutrements and events. The story is about how the neighbors react, especially the man who organizes the neighborhood Christmas light show, and who gets cranky with the Kranks for not participating.

But the Kranks discover that their decision to skip Christmas has some unforeseen consequences, especially the surprise arrival of their daughter, who expects them to be carrying on the usual Christmas traditions.

The movie is entertaining, yet it calls us to wonder what really matters during the holiday season.  Most of us will do our usual holiday thing—perusing Amazon, trips to the mall, the decorating, the entertaining, and the presents.  And in the midst of this frantic activity, there’s a strong chance we’re going to be skipping Christmas and not even know it.

In Isaiah 60, God is encouraging His people after a period of thick and desperate darkness (Isaiah 59:9-10), and telling them about a glorious rescue coming from the Redeemer.  God says:

“Though you were once despised and hated,
with no one traveling through you,
I will make you beautiful forever,
a joy to all generations.
Powerful kings and mighty nations
will satisfy your every need,
as though you were a child
nursing at the breast of a queen.
You will know at last that I, the Lord,
am your Savior and your Redeemer,
the Mighty One of Israel. Isaiah 60:15-16 (NLT)

“Your Savior and your Redeemer” aren’t names we normally associate with the holidays.  It isn’t going to be on many Christmas cards, carols or decorations. Yet, if we miss it, we might end up skipping the true meaning of Christmas.

Jesus is all about redemption.  He came to reconcile broken humanity with a holy God.  He came to show that our righteousness comes only from God.  God makes us righteous through the Christ. It isn’t about what we can do—but solely based on what he has done.

“Your Savior and your Redeemer” means that it isn’t our political affiliation, our religious tradition, our economic position, our racial distinctions.  The ribbon between redemption and Jesus is the very meaning of Christmas.

And it’s too good to skip.

That’s why I look forward to Christmas.  I want to have an open heart to what Jesus brings.  He comes to us as God’s personal holiday card in which he shows us his great love, offers the gift of forgiveness, and the present of redemption.  He comes to reconcile us to God—with a right relationship that has all the hallmarks of a righteous life.

The coming of Jesus isn’t about religion—us finding God.  It is about relationship—God finding us. Righteous living is a relationship with God.

Go ahead and put Frosty in the front yard, string the lights around the tree, and make a clear path for Santa.  But don’t miss the chance to focus your attention on the coming of “Your Savior and your Redeemer”.

Because if you miss it, you will be skipping Christmas!

You are loved!