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What is the true 'Reason for the Season?'

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Turkeys, pumpkins, corn stalks and straw bales are stored away, and the Christmas lights, Christmas trees, snowmen, Santas, angels and nativities are finding their ways into the yards, on the homes and in the rooms. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Although the decorations may look nice and festive, there are still many people in our community, and even in our extended families, that truly do not understand the meaning of Christmas. It is not about the trees, the lights or even the nativity displays. It isn’t about the presents, the music or even the peppermint mochas.

So what is the reason for the season?

We often say “Jesus is the reason for the season,” but is he? Or is Jesus the result of the true reason for the season? Curious? Let me help unwrap that statement.

Is Christmas about Christ? Absolutely.

But I believe the true reason for the season is the love of God. The result of God’s love (the motive) was the babe child (the gift). Christ brings hope, peace and joy (all gifts that are usually recognized during this time of year).

However, Christmas isn’t about the gifts, it is about the love that motivates one to give, to sacrifice and to share. God’s gift of Jesus Christ is a results of His love for us. John 3:16-17 makes that very clear. Why did God send Jesus? Love is the reason.

God loved the world (all the people) so much that God gave (sacrificial and unconditionally) His only Son (for the ministry of reconciliation and redemption) to all who would believe (that God exists, that Christ was the Messiah and that Christ is the only way) so that the world (all the people) would not perish (spend eternity separated in death from God’s love) but have everlasting life (spend eternity being more alive than we can ever imagine with God in Heaven).

God did not send His Son to condemn the world but to save the world through Him. Why did Christ come? He came because of God’s love.

I see a lot of signs and hear a lot of people say, “we need to keep Christ in Christmas,” Christ never leaves the season. Some just choose to ignore his presence.

The truth is, if we celebrate this time of year with unconditional and sacrificial love, Christ will never leave the season. When people focus on the welfare of others, share the grace and forgiveness of God and see all people as God sees them, Christ will never leave Christmas. However, if we become consumed with material things and selfishness, then Christmas becomes about our gratification, not God’s.

In our Advent journey, may we remember that Advent is the season in which we anticipate God’s love demonstrated in Jesus Christ’s coming. The first Advent is God’s love demonstrated with Christ’s birth and the second Advent is God’s love demonstrated in Christ’s promised return.

You cannot separate Christ from the season, but if it were not for the grace and love of God, there would not be a Christ.

Frank Oakman is the minister of First United Methodist Church. He wrote this article as a member of the Fayette County Ministerial Association.