This is the time of year when Vince Guaraldi's album that was recorded over 50 years ago is played on radio stations and online streaming services throughout the world. It is a beautiful ballad of jazz and Christmas spirit produced for another piece of art titled A Charlie Brown Christmas. There is a specific song that I always make an effort to listen to each holiday season. The song is "Christmas Time Is Here" and the last stanza of that song has a hope that I think we all wish would become a reality. The children sing "Oh that we could always see such spirit through the year".
When you think about though, there are many different ways that line could be interpreted that have nothing to do with the true reason for the season. The word "spirit" alone has many different forms. For some it is a physical thing because their Christmas spirit comes from a bottle of spirits. For others, it is feeling they get when they give something to someone else. If you would have asked Ebenezer Scrooge, he’d probably say that the Christmas spirit was an actual ghost. So with so many different forms of the Christmas spirit, how can we know which one we need more of?
Let’s take it all the way back to the start of the Christmas spirit. In Luke 2 we find the history of the birth of Jesus and the actions that happened afterward. Jesus is born and then the group of shepherds are told of this by a choir of angles proclaiming that he deserves all the glory. Essentially, the first action of the angles after their king was born was giving him worship and telling others about him. You may be thinking “They are angels and that is specifically their job, right?” For the sake of comparison, lets look at what the shepherds do after they are told about Jesus’s birth. Luke 2:15 says “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.” So the initial action after hearing the news was that they were drawn to go see him. Once they found him, the scripture goes on to tell us that they spread the news to everyone they came in contact with. This sounds a lot like the angels.
If you haven’t caught on to the point I’m trying to make, here is one last example. In Matthew 2 we find another group of people that had just found out about the birth of Jesus. These were not men that worked in the fields or used their physical body to earn a living. These where the intellectual men of the land and each where kings in their respective kingdoms. So what do you think the first recorded words out of their mouths were? “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” Where can we find him? We have come to worship him. The first group of people to ever celebrate Christmas spent it finding Jesus and giving him the glory. So, in the purest form, the Christmas spirit is to find God if you don’t know him and then worship him with everything inside of you. It is not only what we should do around Christmas time, it is also what we were created to do for all of time. It is in this action that we find our purpose and our direction. It is in this action that we are filled with peace on earth and goodwill towards men. Everything else fits into place when we worship the one worthy of all our praise. I hope this season you become renewed in the Christmas spirit and continue to spread it into the new year.