By Amy Hauptman

Christmas Is Not for Christians

Jesus did not come for Christmas pageants, Christmas trees, or cookies. And he didn’t come for Advent wreaths, live camels, gingerbread houses, or Christmas light shows in sync with the Trans Siberian Orchestra.

Jesus did not come for an inordinate amount of wrapping paper, new video games, Amazon gift cards, new clothes, eggnog, or even—dare I say it?—that lovely little statue of himself surrounded by livestock in our different nativity scenes.

Jesus’ Mission Statement

Jesus told us why he came. He came into the world for this:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:18-19)

It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. (Mark 2:17)

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. . . . I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:7, 9-10)

What Are We Worshiping?

As Christians, we must not forget the primary reason that Jesus came.

We must not get so caught up in the celebration of Christmas that we end up worshiping our celebrations rather than our Savior.

Our celebrations can easily become our focus, causing us to forget about the many lost people out there—people who have been lost for a long time.

While we might be thinking about inviting our non-Christian friends to our Christmas pageants or Christmas services this year, what if we did something different?

What if we invited them over for dinner instead?

When Jesus was on this earth, he didn’t spend much time inviting unbelievers to local church services. He went to them and into their world.

Remember when Jesus called his first disciples (fishermen)? He went to their workplace. Remember when Jesus had dinner with Zacchaeus? He went to Zacchaeus’s world (his house) and hung out with Zacchaeus’s friends.

Giving Light to Everyone

Jesus left us with a pretty good example of what it means to be a light in the darkness. That’s who he was and is: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life,” he said.

So this Christmas season, may we not hide “the light of life” under our church roofs and behind our church walls . . .

Or in wrapped-up boxes . . .

Or behind twinkling Christmas ornaments . . .

Or under our Advent wreath . . .

Or inside our joyful Christmas carols . . .

Let’s remember who Jesus came for: Those who are lost and stumbling in the dark. Those who are looking for the light.

And let us go to them, sharing the good news of who Jesus is and helping them find the true light of the world.

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Amy Hauptman worked for InterVarsity for a number of years, first as a campus staff member at the University of California–Davis, the University of Nevada–Reno, and Truckee Me


Really appreciated this: "While we might be thinking about inviting our non-Christian friends to our Christmas pageants or Christmas services this year, what if we did something different? What if we invited them over for dinner instead?" Thanks, Karl

Why not invite non-Christian friends and neighbors to dinner AND to church (Lessons and Carols) rather than "instead" just to dinner? In Jesus's day there were no local Christian churches to which Jesus could invite non-believers. Jesus came first to Israel, to the lost sheep of Israel, to confirm all of God's promises to the patriarchs so that all the nations might rejoice in God's mercy. Jesus came first to summon Israel to return to YHWH by obedience to himself. Jesus related to non-believers often by debating them publicly, unmasking their unbelief, and even then to those Jews who believed in him he would say difficult teachings to test the genuineness of their belief. We've generally stopped challenging shallow or misguided "belief" in Christ. Anyway, there were no local Christian churches in Jesus's day available for evangelistic use until Acts 2 where it seems the local body of believers was a key resource of evangelistic life and practice. We should actually use local churches more than we do in evangelism. Dr. William Abraham (once professor of evangelism and author of <il>The Logic of Evangelism<il> (Eerdmans)) once said, "Where else can you look than to the Church to see what it means to live with Christ as Lord?" Exactly.

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