3 Dangers of Christmas
You’ve heard of the dangers of the Christmas holiday season — drink driving, overeating, overspending; there may be countless others.
However these dangers, deadly though they may be, pale in comparison to a far greater danger that has eternal consequences — the danger of rejecting the true God because He doesn’t match the expectations we have about what He should look like or who He should be.
If you’re honest, you will admit that you do have expectations about God. And that’s fine. It’s not wrong to have expectations.
But the problem is when our expectations don’t match reality. Especially when that reality has already been revealed.
Christmas is the perfect example of dangerous expectations about God that do not match the reality about God.
At the time that that Jesus was born, the Jews were indeed expecting a Messiah. But they were looking out for a political and military figure who would liberate them from Roman rule. The expectations were not aligned to the true identity of Messiah that God had been revealing to them for centuries.
The Messiah would be a humble and suffereing servant who would be despised and rejected by men. He would be born in the lowliest of circumstances. He would live an ordinary life. And yet He would perform miraculous deeds that would testify to His divine power. He would come to save people, not from political oppression, but from the oppression of sin. He would come to liberate; not from military rule but from the rulership of sin.
But the people of Jesus’ time were blinded by their own expectations. They were driven by external, superficial issues instead of being led by internal, spiritual realities.
Like them, we too, are in danger today of being blinded by our own expectations of who God should be. Like them, we too, are in danger of rejecting the One whom God has sent.
DANGEROUS EXPECTATION #1: The way to God doesn’t matter because all paths lead to Him
This is dangerous because it lulls us into a false sense of security. We think that it doesn’t matter which religious path we follow as long as we follow some path. But Jesus was very clear when He said — “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
So the danger here is in thinking that Jesus is only one of many ways to God. But in Jesus’ own words, He is the ONLY way.
Is your expectation about reaching God different to how God Himself says He can be reached? What’s more, when you celebrate Christmas how do you see the baby Jesus? Is He your way to God? Or are you following another way?
DANGEROUS EXPECTATION #2: The name of God doesn’t matter
This is similar to the previous danger. It deceives us into thinking that somehow, the identity of God is separate from the name of God. That somehow, we can call Him by whatever name we choose and we would end up addressing Him.
But again, God corrects our thinking when He says this about His Son, Jesus Christ: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Now you might wonder why there is no other name by which we can reach God. God tells us again that He has highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
So the fact is that the name of God is the key to getting access to Him. Question is — are you calling God by the right name?
Are you celebrating Christmas by addressing God with the right name?
DANGEROUS EXPECTATION #3: What you believe about God does not matter as long as you believe something
Again, this is another way to see the previous couple of dangers. We fool ourselves by thinking that it’s okay to believe anything about God as long as it’s about God! But God corrects this false way of thinking when He says about Jesus —“This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!”
In other words, our beliefs about God should not come from our own imagination but from Jesus. Why is this?
Again, God explains this very simply: No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father (i.e. Jesus), He has explained Him.
This means that the only true knowledge we can have about God is via Jesus. Or to put it differently, if we believe something about God that does not align with what Jesus taught, then those beliefs are false beliefs. They will not lead us towards God but will lead us away from Him.
This is why Christmas is a great reminder to ask ourselves, do we have the right beliefs about God?
As you gather with family and friends this Christmas to celebrate, make sure you are celebrating with the right expectations. Otherwise, why celebrate at all?