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[Jesus-centered] Wrestling Jesus Into Center

Jason Ostrander —  December 29, 2013 — 11 Comments

It was Christmas morning and all of my family was gathered around the tree where presents were stacked neatly on top of one another.christmas_presents

Like many of you, I decided to take advantage of those precious few moments before the chaos ensued to bring the real meaning of Christmas into the forefront.

I loaded up The Message version of Luke 2 onto my iPad and asked Liam, my 10-year-old son, to read verses 1 through 20. As he was reading aloud the familiar Christmas passage, I couldn’t help but be distracted by the amazing paradox before me: a tree, undergirded with the spoils of hour-long shopping trips, juxtaposed by the retelling of an age-old story of Jesus’ birth in a lowly manger.

My mind began to wander and in those few moments as my son’s voice drifted off into the distance, I began to do a quick self-evaluation: had I done enough this year to help my children discern through the milieu of shiny wrapping paper and expensive video game systems to see that the advent of God’s son was the greatest gift that we could ever have asked for?

As Liam finished up the Luke 2 passage I decided to put my fears to rest by asking my 7-year-old son Jams to tell us all what he thought the true meaning of Christmas was. We all waited with baited breath as he answered:

“Christmas is a time to remember Santa–who was Jesus’ cousin.”

Well, there you have it. The real meaning of Christmas…

My wife and I looked at each other and wanted to laugh and cry all at the same time. I mean it’s not as if he hadn’t heard the baby Jesus in a manger story before. After all, he’s been going to church his whole life! So why didn’t he say it? Why didn’t he dissuade all of my fears and tell me what I needed to hear?

I’ll tell you why–because the message that Jams hears about Christmas on TV, in the stores, and on the playground are often much louder and much more consistent than the message we hear at Church during the Christmas Eve service. Those mixed messages affect 7-year-old boys, and if I were to be totally transparent, those messages can affect those little boys’ father, too.

My son’s answer wasn’t exactly right, but it was close. I could tell that he was trying to wrestle Jesus back into Christmas. It was honest and sincere. It was beautiful.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33

Although not always connected with the Christmas season, this rarely quoted promise of Jesus has given me great comfort over the holidays. It’s a reminder that the message of the world will come against the message of Christ more loudly and more consistently than we would all like to admit, and that will cause trouble. But take heart, because Jesus has overcome the trouble. He is there with you…even on Christmas morning.

With everything that is going on around us, we cannot just sit and expect Christ to somehow fall into the center of everything we do. We will have to actively pursue it.

May we do everything we can this new year to wrestle Jesus into the center of our lives and ministries.

Blessings,

Jason Ostrander

@Jason_ostrander

11 responses to [Jesus-centered] Wrestling Jesus Into Center

  1. An awesome reminder. Thanks Jason!

    What you say here is so true:
    I’ll tell you why–because the message that Jams hears about Christmas on TV, in the stores, and on the playground are often much louder and much more consistent than the message we hear at Church during the Christmas Eve service. Those mixed messages affect 7-year-old boys, and if I were to be totally transparent, those messages can affect those little boys’ father, too.

    My son’s answer wasn’t exactly right, but it was close. I could tell that he was trying to wrestle Jesus back into Christmas. It was honest and sincere. It was beautiful.

  2. How touching, telling, and true. Thanks for sharing your family’s Christmas with us all.

    Grace & Peace,
    Charlie

  3. Thanks Jason, Its a constant struggle to strike a balance in what we teach our children about Christmas in our words and in our actions. Too often we say Jesus is the reason for the season while we stress over everything else entailed in the Holiday. We had a similar experience when my son was just about your sons age. he pulled me aside and said, “You know dad I believe in Jesus and Santa.”

  4. Great Word! I wonder how many adults could articulate something that showed a personal encounter with the Son of God having taken residence on this earth on their behalf. What difference has His coming made in celebration of this special time or for that matter every day a celebration of His Tabernacaling among us. He has promised to do it again. Do I have anticipating and exceptation of this new appearing? GRANT THIS LORD!

    Thanks, Jason
    Shalom

  5. “My son’s answer wasn’t exactly right, but it was close. I could tell that he was trying to wrestle Jesus back into Christmas. It was honest and sincere. It was beautiful.”

    Jason,
    I love the different perspective on your sons answer. “I could tell that he was trying to wrestle Jesus back into Christmas” is a great perspective. Just being honest, as a newer parent I think I would have been more inclined to correct him…but I don’t know that would be the right approach. Thanks for sharing this story.
    Blessings!

  6. MERCY! I can’t even begin to imagine how it felt to have that reality placed before you. I am personally struggling with finding out how to present the true meaning to my future children. I don’t want there to be an over focus on getting but yet I don’t want them to feel like Christmas is the only time to give. It is a hard balance to find as we aim to remember the true meaning and install that in the hearts of our little ones.

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