Ahhhhh, Christmas. The time of year when we rejoice at snow, get special feelings when we hear jingle bells, and give ourselves allowances to eat far too many cookies. It truly is a unique time of year, filled with events, gifts, to-do lists, baked goods, and travel plans. In the middle of all the hustle and bustle, can we all take a moment to be brutally honest with ourselves? It might not be the highlight of our season of celebration, but I believe there is a need for us to take a moment and be honest about Christmas and the reality of who we are and the purpose in our lives. 

In CRA chapels, we’ve taken time aside to address different things about the Christmas story that often go ignored, assumed, or brushed aside. One of the main topics being a reminder of who Jesus is. You see, the problem with Christmas is that in our traditions, carols, and family gatherings we continually remind ourselves to keep “Christ in Christmas” and in doing so “remember the reason for the season” but this leaves a lot of room to forget who Jesus is, and who I am, and just what I am supposed to be remembering. 

To do that we have to start at the beginning, and recall the story of creation in Genesis 1-3. In the biblical narrative, we see God created a world meant for unhindered communion with Him, and we in turn see humankind doubt God and in disobedience, declare that humanity knows better than its creator. This set the stage for the rest of history, which can be seen as humans living in a fallen world. It is clearly displayed in the Biblical story how time and time again humans fail in restoring relationships with God. They don’t keep the law, they lie, they doubt, they covet, they steal, they murder, they fail. Beyond the Bible, it doesn’t take much of a history lesson to see that something is still wrong with the world. Something is not right. Peace is a far off dream, hope is fleeting, and love is hard to find. The world is not okay. Something is not how it should be. 

The part where we are going to need to be brutally honest is to say, “Something is wrong with the world, and I’m part of the problem.” It’s really easy to blame other people for all that has gone wrong in our life. It’s easy to point the finger and justify ourselves, but take this in, you are part of the problem. Try as you might, something is wrong with us and no matter what we do, we cannot fix it. 

The world will acknowledge that some things are not right and then, with growing popularity, tell us to dig deep and access some greater good that is within us. If you can find that inner peace, then maybe you can contribute good to society, enjoy life, and have a successful career with a loving family. If none of that is working out for you, then just dig a little deeper and discover something about yourself. You are your own solution. 

In what I’m sure seems like a harsh reality, let me say, there’s a problem and you can’t fix it. No amount of self discovery will change the fact that you and this world are not how it should be. You are lost and in need of saving. 

Now let’s dwell in some more truth, you are in desperate need of saving, and the creator of the universe has sent a Savior. You see, until I am able to acknowledge that I am in need of saving, Jesus will just be a baby who grew up to be a great teacher who had some good moral standards to live by. But if I am indeed lost and without a way to find my way back, then I can fully take in that by no other provision but Jesus Christ can I be saved from my current reality. I am lost at sea, and God has shown up!

The last thing I want to say is to marvel for a moment on how Jesus saved us. I can find myself in the depths of life feeling utterly consumed by the darkness all around me and in my need, cry out for God to save me. He’s this grand, marvelous God who could pluck me from my circumstances, wave his hand, and fix the whole world. He doesn’t do that. Instead he shows up in the middle of the chaos, and says “Let’s walk this together, will you let me lead?” That’s the gift of “Immanuel God with us” (Isaiah 7:14) — that in the middle of our chaos He comes and walks with us. In the middle of our desperate need for saving, he comes along and says, “Let’s walk this journey together, will you let me lead?” 

This is what we would often not talk about, but is what makes the Christmas season worth celebrating. That as the world has gone drastically wrong, God has been at work restoring His kingdom, and His master plan includes a human form of Himself here to save His creation through radical love and redemption, but in order to be made anew, I have to acknowledge that the current me isn’t working. 

~By LilyAnn Matchett, Compass Rose Academy Student Chaplain