“Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah” (Acts 5:42 NIV).
In years past, we enjoyed going to the mall at Christmastime and looking at all the festive decorations and delightful displays in the storefront windows. There was something energizing and exciting about the hustle and bustle. Santa and his helpers were always nestled somewhere prominent in an elaborate setting, usually with a long string of moms and dads with their little kids in tow awaiting their turn to get their pictures taken with the jolly old man. Often there were carolers singing songs of the season making their way amid the crowd of shoppers. It was one place we knew we could expect to experience the sights and sounds of the Christmas season.
On a cold, wet morning a couple weeks back (too cold and wet for outdoor walking), my husband and I ventured to our nearby mall to do our eight laps around and fulfill our walking goal. The Christmas season was upon us, and I was eager to see the mall in all its finery.
But as we walked inside and began passing store after store, I noticed something was different. There was no feeling of excitement and delight that I had been expecting. Instead I felt disappointment. We were struck by how few stores had any kind of Christmas décor at all. Many of the storefront displays could have been seen in January or February and not looked out of place. The mall’s decorations consisted of a few red banners draped high and some strings of white lights hanging like fringe overhead. Santa was in his usual place. And while there were a few Christmas trees, brightly wrapped packages, and a sign that shouted “Believe!,” where was the feeling of delight I remembered?
I felt the mall and the stores had let me down…let us all down.
About lap six, I noticed it. Within my heart, my own finger was pointing back at me.
Why, Sabra? Why do you look to retail stores and corporate management companies to fill you with joy and delight in a season where we are to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ? Rarely have I ever seen at the mall any image depicting the true purpose of Christmas—no nativity, no shepherds, no angels. This is not what the retail world is about.
But, Sabra…this is what YOU are about.
(Forgive me, Lord.)
As a believer and follower of Christ Jesus, it is MY responsibility to herald the true meaning of Christmas—the coming of the Messiah.
Acts 5:42 tells us that the apostles in the early church “never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ” (NIV84).
Indeed, it is the privilege and calling of all believers to proclaim that which the angel declared to the shepherds one silent night so long ago, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11 NIV84).
We each have our own storefront windows, so to speak, in which we display what is important to us.
Do our storefront displays tell the story of snowmen and Santa and shopping and yuletide festivities? Or are we telling the story of the greatest gift ever given in the person of Jesus Christ?
I, for one, need to evaluate how I celebrate this sacred season. I need to see where I have let too much of the secular traditions permeate my thinking, activities, and decorating.
We’ve heard before that we need to ask ourselves this question: If people didn’t know me, would they be able to tell from my life that I am a Christian? Maybe we need to also ask ourselves: “If people didn’t know me, would they be able to tell from my ‘storefront display’ this Christmas season that Jesus is my Savior?”
Will you join me in being more determined to share the true significance of Christmas?
Here are just a few ways we can declare the good news during the Christmas season that our Savior has come:
- Display a nativity scene
- Hang Christmas ornaments or decorations that depict various elements of the birth of Christ: angel, shepherd, star, three kings, manger, baby Jesus
- Use words throughout our seasonal decorating that tell what gifts we receive through Jesus: love, peace, joy, hope, light, salvation, God with us
- Send Christmas cards that declare this good news in some way
- Make our own gift tags with Scripture about His coming
- When giving a small gift, include a card with the story of the Savior’s birth
- Go caroling to our neighbors and sing true Christmas carols about Jesus
This is a mere sampling of ideas. What are some ways you have found to share the good news that Jesus is the Messiah? Please share them with us in a comment below.
Dearest Father, help us to not be shy about declaring the good news that Jesus is the Christ. Show us, Lord, how we can better celebrate this wondrous event and most precious gift at this time of year so that the world will know of Your love and salvation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.