The True Christmas Spirit Podcast by Pastor John MacArthur for Grace to You
If you’re like me, you have heard the world’s comments and evaluations of this time of the year. And one of the phrases that you hear a lot is the Christmas spirit. We need to have the Christmas spirit. And of course, I began to think about that, being somewhat analytical. Just what is the Christmas spirit. And I suppose there are a lot of potential answers to that question. To Scrooge, the Christmas spirit was a ghost. To the liquor industry, the Christmas spirit comes in a bottle, somewhere around $75 million this month in America. Some people feel that the Christmas spirit is somehow the truce that takes place in the family when nobody brings up the issues, the quarrels.
I supposed for some people the Christmas spirit is expressed in a card that conveys a sentiment of wellbeing. 95 percent of all Americans will be involved in sending five billion plus Christmas cards expressing these sentiments. One little boy suggested that the Christmas spirit is really contentment, because that’s what you need to be when you don’t get what you want. For some people the Christmas spirit is an attitude of happiness found in the fellowship of friends. Or the party spirit while consuming 10 million to 15 million turkeys. For many, however, the Christmas spirit is not so trivial or so frivolous or so fun. For many the Christmas spirit is one of profound sadness, increased depression because all that is wrong in your life is then measured against the hilarity of the time and seems even more profoundly painful. As on poet put it, in a very personal expression of pain, Christmas is a bitter day for mothers who are poor. The wistful eyes of children are daggers to endure. Though shops are crammed with playthings, enough for everyone, if a mother’s purse is empty, there might as well be none. And then the poet ended with these words, “My purse is full of money, but I cannot buy a toy, only a wreath of holly for the grave of my little boy.” And Christmas is like that for some people. For others it’s a time for saying thanks for some very basic things. G.K. Chesterton years ago said, “When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings with toys at Christmas, why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?” Mostly though, I guess the spirit of Christmas is giving presents, if the mall is any indication, billions of dollars of worth as a result of people colliding and careening around in crowded stores, everything from nickel candy to multimillion pieces of jewelry and everything in between, and stuffing stockings and wrapping packages and the spirit of Christmas, they tell us, is giving. And that’s all right, I’m no scrooge, I don’t want to rain on anybody’s parade. But I would just like to get down to the core of this deal, what is the true spirit of Christmas? Is it fun? Is it fellowship? Is it giving? What is it?