Perhaps I am wrong, but it feels like Christmas is hollow for more and more people every year. It almost seems like it is becoming a black cloud hanging over our cultures head. And in a way it is.
In Matthew 15:7-9, Jesus is confronting the scribes and Pharisees, who have double downed on the traditions of man. This is what Jesus says, “You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
Christmas has become for many vanity, and therefore hypocritical. In a pursuit of joy, we have turned our backs on its source. We grope for fruit amongst trees of thorns. This is the plight of humanity. We live inconsistent and illogical lives. So what are we to do? We must go to Bethlehem.
In Luke 2 we see the familiar story of Angels appearing to the Shepherds in the darkness of night and saying to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” Upon hearing of such good news of great joy what did they do? They pursued joy by going to its source. Verse 15 says, “When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”
Hearing the words of good news of great joy was not enough to produce the joy in their lives. These Shepherds had to go to Bethlehem and see for themselves. They had to have a personal encounter with this Savior the angels spoke of. So they left the darkness of the open fields and went to a stable and gazed upon the Light of the World. And they were not disappointed. When the night was over, there lives had changed forever. “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” (Luke 2:20).
For those who sit in the darkness of December, you have a choice. You can put on a fake smile, and fill your life with more Christmas vanity, or you can turn from your hypocrisy and cling to Christ. He is the only source of true and lasting joy. You will not find it anywhere else, you can only find it in Bethlehem.