Christmas has an interesting affect on so many people. In our culture, Christmas presents the possibility of presents, food, family, carols, lights, and all of our wishes coming true. The only problem is this: the human heart.
Our culture presents Christmas as a magical time when somehow, someway, everything is going to be made right in our lives. The perfect gift will arrive under the tree on the 25th of December, that particular problem will finally be resolved, or the long-awaited check will arrive in the mail. Culture has bought into this dark myth that if all other months fail, December will somehow save the day.
There’s something true about this, isn’t there? Truth hardly ever shows herself on the surface – in all of the bright lights and tensile – it usually speaks quietly and softly in the depths of our hearts, and if we listen we will hear her saying, “glory.”
Christmas is about glory because Christianity is about glory. The Apostle Paul reminds us that “if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinth. 4:3-4). Paul is pointing out a massive and important truth, that our enemy choses to attack us in many ways, but His main desire is to blind us to the glory of Christ.
Why? What would happen if we truly understood Christ in all of His beauty?
Christmas is about seeing the glorious and beautiful Christ, exactly how He is – utterly holy and divine, but also weak and human, just like you and me.
When it comes to speaking into our teenagers’ lives, we must realize that their hearts understand very clearly what glory is all about. Whether it be the glory of sports, academia, approval from others, or the glory of love and affection, we have all understood glory from an early age. However, we also understand that there is another strange desire calling from way down deep in our souls. It’s a desire that no amount of earthly glory seems to satisfy. The ache, hunger, and desperate cry for something other is always present in our thoughts and feelings; it is the longing to see something bigger and brighter than ever seen before.
We are a culture of “pioneers,” searching for the next best and greatest experience that will forever stir our emotions, hearts, and souls – the experience or thing that will, once and for all, bring us that divine peace. Christmas is about the coming of Christ as the spiritual and physical proclamation that He is what our souls are truly crying out for.
Martyn Lloyd Jones was well known for teaching that every preacher has an advocate, in that every hearer/listener has a conscious that tells them about the law written on their hearts, as well as the sin that rebels against God and His law. But I think there is another advocate within our hearts. The second advocate seeks a great and unmatched glory that we all long to see and experience. After 13 years in youth ministry, this is the idea I try to hammer home in every student’s heart and soul: Christ is the true light and glory your soul is crying out for, surrender to the call.
As student ministry leaders, the Christmas season is a major opportunity to speak into the lives and hearts of teenagers who think that their school break, and the perfect gift under the tree, are the be-all end-all. As proclaimers of truth, we must take full advantage of this time to “contend for the Gospel” as we not only speak but show how the human heart is in full search for something other, something real; that in a way, our culture is right: somehow, someway, everything is going to be made right in our lives at Christmas. But it isn’t going to happen through all of the parties and eggnog or the perfect present. The true light in this dark world and the only thing that will satisfy our hungry hearts starts with the birth of Jesus Christ.