In 1957, C.S. Lewis wrote a little article entitled “What Christmas Means to Me.” He sharply criticizes the “commercial racket” that has overtaken Christmas. Lewis explains:
Long before December 25th everyone is worn out—physically worn out by weeks of daily struggle in overcrowded shops, mentally worn out by the effort to remember all the right recipients and to think out suitable gifts for them. They are in no trim for merry-making; much less (if they should want to) to take part in a religious act. They look far more as if there had been a long illness in the house.
The sheer number of things to do surrounding Christmas can chip away at our ability to engage in meaningful worship or even to enjoy the holiday at all.
If Lewis lived to see the age of smartphones and Amazon, his opinion wouldn’t have changed. Instead of overcrowded shops, we’re bombarded by personalized pop-up ads. In the 1950s, stores closed at a reasonable hour, putting some limits on shopping. But we have the distinct privilege of being able to order gifts at any time, adding one more item to the cart in the middle of the night. It’s exhausting.
This devotional series is meant to help you refocus on the simple yet spectacular story of how the Son of God came into the world. Our church staff has worked through each aspect of the Christmas story, reflecting on the significance of what happened as Christ came. The stories hold both comforts and challenges for us. There are examples of remarkable faith (Mary, Joseph) and earnest curiosity (the Magi). Some welcomed Christ’s arrival (John the Baptist, the shepherds) while others felt threatened by it (Herod, Archelaus). God’s people looked for their promised Messiah, yet few recognized His coming.
By the time December 25th rolls around, it’s inevitable—we’re all still going to feel tired. But hopefully, we’ll also feel grateful that the Son of God “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7).