Jesus Christ was brought to earth for one purpose: to give his life for ours. His death on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice to forgive the past, present, and future sins of God’s people. And God’s people are all of us – white, black, tall, short, bad, good, liberal, conservative, Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Muslim, etc. God created every person who walked on this earth, and Christ’s time on earth proved that we are all brothers and sisters. Jesus Christ broke bread, conversed, worshipped, and/or celebrated with just about every walk of life. And he commanded us to do the same. (John 15:12 -- “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”)
Too often in today’s world we separate ourselves from our brothers and sisters because of worldly boundaries. Whether they are religious divisions or denominations, political parties, or geographic borders, our world is made of walls. Sadly, these walls have prevented many of us from following Christ’s command to love others.
This Christmas, I have committed myself to reach out to those who seem to differ from me – from the white mailman, to the homeless beggar, to the liberal politician – and love them as Christ loves me. I have made many mistakes in my life. I sin just about everyday. And yet, Jesus Christ loves me unconditionally. No matter what I do – good or bad – He will not love me any more or any less than He already does. And this example of love, if I truly follow it will enhance my life and those I touch.
I have also committed myself to embracing Christmas for its true value. Instead of “buying” the commercialism of Christmas, I plan to embrace the “Christ” in Christmas. I plan to honor Jesus Christ’s birth by spending extra time in worship throughout this special season. I also plan to increase my tithing, prayer, and Bible study to honor His life on earth. With each Christmas gift I give this year, I will include a Bible verse, commitment card, or another faith tool. I plan to cover my house with angels, crosses, and nativity seasons, so that everyday I am reminded of the true reason of Christmas. These may be small steps to take the Xmas out of Christmas, but I plan to do them wholeheartedly. For I believe that if Christians everywhere want to live a life of God, they must start by embracing Christ’s life on earth.
Christ’s time on earth gave us a good peek into his views on life and religion. He prayed constantly, preached often, and loved unconditionally. He broke bread with tax collectors, prostitutes, thieves, and just about every other “unclean” person he encountered. He fed the poor, housed the homeless, and cured the sick. His disciples (whom he washed the feet of) were ordinary men who did extraordinary things for His kingdom. And his blood family was simple, hard working, and caring. The purpose of studying Christ’s life and who He interacted with is to understand how we should live today. If we use Christ’s life as an example, we will glorify Him, bring people into his kingdom, and spread love where there is none.
Many people ask me how they can make a difference in this world. Well, whether you are Christian, Muslim, agnostic, or atheist, the best way you can immediately impact the world is to love another human being. By breaking down divisions based on race, ancestry, and other meaningless things, you can positively influence more people than you can imagine. Challenge yourself to truly get to know someone new this holiday season – and do not prejudge them based on the hue of their skin, their faith, or your own value system. Meet them where they’re at and disregard any differences you may have with them. Focus on your similarities, listen intently, and show them love without preaching. Jesus Christ did not need “religion” to be God. And likewise, we can spread the Gospel this Christmas without mentioning religion. In fact, loving others without being preachy may actually prove to us that God does not need a building or a book to thrive, but merely our hearts and minds.
Christmas may seem to most people as an overly commercialized Christian custom. But to those of us who truly celebrate December 25 as the birth of our savior, we must use this special time as an opportunity to improve ourselves and impact those around us. For Christmas should not just be a day of joy for Christians, but a day of celebration, happiness, and love for all.