CNN showed a boy and his father talking to a reporter about the bombing in Paris. The boy suggested to the father that they needed to leave Paris because of the mean, bad people, and the father responded that they should not leave because of the flowers and the candles. The father further explained to the boy that the candles and flowers were there for remembrance of those who died and for protection against the mean, bad people.
The boy then agreed that they should stay, and he felt better about the situation. With all the violence and hate taking place in our world, we need Christmas right now. We cannot wait until after Thanksgiving or December 25, because we need Christmas right now. One of the most hidden Christmas stories is the meeting between the baby Jesus and the couple praying in the temple, Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:21-38). They were both awaiting the birth of Jesus, and praised God that they had lived to see the coming of the Christ.
Unlike the couple who waited for Jesus’ birth, our wait is over. We can experience Christmas right now, and we need this encounter with Jesus Christ to see us through the hopelessness and hatred in our world. What is Christmas? Most people have confused Christmas with Valentine’s Day. To many people, it has become a time of romance, a time to fall in love, and to receive the perfect mate under the tree. Some have understood Christmas as a time to make money off seasonal feelings and emotions.
Christmas has become about Black Friday, Beats, diamond rings, and other gifted material items. Others believe Christmas is about Santa Claus, and making unreasonable demands on the budgets of parents and other love ones. Christmas is that meeting that Anna and Simeon. They had been engaged in prayer and worship for Christmas. They had been praying for the promise and birth of the Messiah, and they received it. For us to receive the true meaning of Christmas, we have to pray.
We cannot listen to people who have no desire or hope for Christmas—people who say prayer does not help, prayer does not matter, and that prayer shifts human responsibility to God. We need to pray for Christmas. We need to pray that Jesus will help us to deal with human problems, the rise of sin and hate in our homes, communities, and nation, because we need Christmas now. Christmas is hope. Christmas is joy. Christmas is peace. Christmas is love. Christmas is redemption. Christmas is God’s grace in action. We need Christmas to resolve the problems in our world.
The way to resolve the human problem is for humans to be transformed by the grace of God, so that we, through the power of the Holy Spirit, can share that grace with one another. This is why we can no longer wait for Christmas. We have to join hands and unite in love. We have to look beyond our differences, and be willing to see how much alike we are. When Christmas comes, evil will no longer have the power to make us weak, hopeless, and afraid. We will not have to run away and hide, we will have the faith to stand. We need Christmas right now.