When I became a Christian, I didn’t initially intend to give up my sin. Newly “reborn,” I didn’t have the spiritual maturity to understand that a Christian can’t serve two masters. I had a heart condition – a heart that still craved sin. A heart bent towards retaining its sinful state is surely even more deadly than one with a physical ailment. Yet, thanks be to God, He began to change my desires, and my inclination towards sin began to weaken. He worked in me to give me a new heart that would seek to follow Him.
Attacks from the Heart
During the Christmas season, we hear familiar stories surrounding Jesus’ birth that display various heart conditions. We can rightly want to condemn the innkeeper who said there was no room for Mary and Joseph. And we can certainly all point the finger at Pontius Pilate or Judas, who, later in Jesus’ life played such major roles in His crucifixion; as theirs were acts that clearly reflected the hardness of their hearts.
The Beauty of a Heart Made Well
But then there are the subtly shining moments of hearts yielded to the Lord. Mary never once (that we know of) protested the hardship of an unexpected pregnancy or the social stigma she endured. There’s no record of either Mary or Joseph complaining as she gave birth in the middle of an animal stable without sterile conditions or medical assistance. There weren’t complaints, but rather a display of joy and gratitude, from the wise men who traveled far, led only by a star, to encounter the most unlikely thing the earth had ever known — the ruler of all of mankind as helpless infant. And the thief on the cross revealed a changed heart when he humbly asked Jesus to remember him when He took His rightful place in the Kingdom.
For More Than the Season
While we hear much support for “spirit of Christmas,” let’s keep in mind that God surely didn’t intend for us to limit that spirit to one season or to a single day. We often want to put our best foot forward in our holiday presentations, but it’s more important that we let the condition of a “gentle and humble spirit” (1 Pet. 3:4) be the lasting impression we leave long after the annual greeting card has been tossed away.
Friends, we have a Spirit who didn’t intend to leave. He is the everlasting gift. And so our hearts should accurately reflect Him to draw people to Jesus. The true “spirit of Christmas” is revealed in a heart that’s in a right condition all year long.