There are many worthwhile holidays: MLK Jr. Day, Independence Day, Veteran’s Day, Hanukkah, Love your pastor day (I made that one up but dang it, it should be a holiday!), etc., and yet, it’s Christmas that year after year keeps its luster. While we’ve done our best to rape it of all religious meaning and exploit it for our commercial advantage, there’s still the element of Christmas that seldom makes the news: worship. All around the world people gathered on Christmas Eve and Christmas day and worshiped. Some came in massive crowds, some simply sat around their Christmas tree with the family and read the Christmas story. This is what’s charming about Christmas. I can go on a spending spree any day of the year (assuming I have the money), what I don’t get to do all year is worship with my family and community and celebrate the birth of the Christ-child. Or do I?

As a pastor, I intentionally exploit the Christmas cheer that comes with the season. The good mood that my church family and community seems to settle into this time of year, gives me the perfect opportunity to challenge them to do something for the poor and destitute. I try to challenge them all year long, but Christmas affords me ample opportunity to drive the point home. Christ was born poor, lived poor, worked among the poor, and died poor. He had no place to be born and no place to be buried. Christ taught extensively about the poor. There has to be some reason for all of this…perhaps we are to be cognizant of the poor and actively help them with our resources. Going to the poor and reading Scripture to them is a nice sentiment but does nothing for their growling stomach. No one wants to listen to someone who doesn’t care for their physical needs. So…what’s so charming about Christmas? The fact that we’re reminded that in the midst of a consumer driven society, we don’t have to spend our money on things. The fact that while all others may use this day for family fellowship (and this is certainly appropriate), we can also spend time with the family we’ve never met at our local soup kitchen, help center, etc. I only say this because I truly believe that it’s exactly how Jesus would spend this holiday, if his birthday had been a celebration when he were living.

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