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Is a Merry Christmas Really What We’re After?


Gwen Smith

December 18, 2015

Blog, Christmas, Holiness, Priorities, Social Media, Worship, Worship

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On the night that divinity merged with fleshy humanity as Jesus came on the scene in a stable, things of earth were shaken and stirred with fresh glory and awesome wonder.

A host of heavenly angels appeared in the sky praising God and celebrating the arrival of the long awaited Messiah. They left their veiled existence to speak and sing to a few lowly shepherds in a field. Wait, what? Why? To announce the good news of great joy that came as a gift from God in a cloth-clad baby-package named Jesus. The singing sky creatures pointed the shepherds to the swaddled Savior who was in a manger near by and urged them to go and check out the Christ child.

starry sky

When the shepherds came on the scene they found Mary, Joseph and Jesus just as the angels had said. (Luke 2:16) They worshiped, were in awe, and “spread the word concerning what had been told them concerning this child.” (Luke 2:17, 20)

And Mary? She took it all in. She reflected and worshiped. The Bible says she, “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

I know this story. You probably do too. But I glance again at the responses…

In celebration of the mangered-Messiah, heavenly hosts sang praises to God and lit up the sky with joy. Shepherds ran to see Jesus, glorified God, and amazed listeners by telling them about all they had seen and heard. A young new mama soaked in the wonder of it all and marinated on the majesty before her.

When I consider the contrast between the first Christmas and this Christmas, I realize how far we’ve wandered.

Instead of filling the sky with declarations of deity our airwaves are filled with grumblings over whether we should say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.

Instead of making a big deal about Jesus and reflecting on the wonder of His coming, many get sucked into meaningless social media conversations about a coffee cup. What message are we sending to the world when we tell a secular company they can’t have a plain red cup?

What are we pondering? Where have we fixed our focus?

That first Christmas was much more than merry. It was filled with wonder and worship.

That first Christmas was fixed on Jesus.

More than having a merry Christmas, I’m stirred to have a meaningful Christmas that takes me back to the manger that led to the cross. One that mixes the merry with the meditative. One that folds in the fruit of the Spirit with the fruit cake. One that lingers with both lively praise and low-bending prayers. One that harks the herald and helps the hungry.


Yes. I want us all to have a merry Christmas.

But more than that I want us to have a meaningful Christmas. Not one that is consumed with consuming or lost in senseless secondary conversations, but one that is fixed on adoration, celebration, consideration and awe. One that reflects on and gives thanks to God for sending Jesus to be our hope. One that is rich with depth and love and relationship. One that is full of His fullness of grace.

Will you join me as I commit to pursuing a merry and meaningful, Messiah-focused Christmas?

Holy Lord,
All glory and honor and praise be to Your name! Thank You for invading the darkness of this world and my heart with Your light. Help me to live a life of meaningful, purposed, responsive worship during this Christmas season and every day.
In Jesus’ name, amen.



Read Luke 2.

Pause for a moment of personal reflection. What’s one thing you can do today that will make this season more meaningful and purposed?

Thanks for doing life with me!

In His Grace and Truth,



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About Gwen Smith

Gwen Smith

I am an unashamed, imperfect worshiper of Jesus Christ. I cling to His goodness to cover my mess and purpose my days to live out the hope of the Gospel. It is my joy and passion to inspire women to live fully in grace and truth. I write books, devotions and songs. I speak. I sing. I worship. I post, pin and tweet. I am intensely in love with the Word of God and believe, wholeheartedly, that the Bible is divinely inspired truth.


4 responses to “Is a Merry Christmas Really What We’re After?”

  1. Jehrica M. says:

    God blessed my brother and his wife with a beautiful baby boy this CHRISTmas season and I pray it helps us reflect on the miracle of life and that we will focus on the precious Christ Baby in the manger Who died on the Cross at Calvary and to make HIM our First-Thing Desire! Hallelujah! Let us make every day about HIM!

  2. Rebecca Hricko says:

    Thank you, Gwen, for the reminder. My older sister is getting married in January, so this Christmas season is not only crazy, it’s going to be our last Christmas really together as a family. My wish is for a meaningful Christmas, not for it to be shoved aside in all the wedding/bridal shower planning.

  3. Cindi says:

    *Thank You for continuing to encourage us to slow down, be still, and focus on the true meaning of the season!
    *I have not appreciated the substitution of Happy Holiday for Merry Christmas until I recently heard on a Christian radio station (93.3 WAKW) the concept of Holidays being the modern version of the true Holy Days, which they are to celebrate our greatest gift.
    *Mary was the first to wrap the first and best Christmas Gift ever!
    *I leave people with a “Merry Christmas” because I am a Church Lady and one of God’s Girls.
    *I have also recycled a quote from one of my colleagues “Happy Merry Everything!” for inclusiveness to encourage all to be thankful and grateful
    for all of God’s gifts at this special time of year

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