Main Point: The Christmas season has long ago become over-marketed and commercialized, leaving many Christians robbed of the true meaning of this fantastic season. The good news is, something can be done about it if we want to change things bad enough.
Discussion Starter: Skipping Christmas in Kentucky
Many people believe that the Christmas season has long ago become over-marketed and commercialized. The following article is a real life illustration of what one church did to make that point…and then do something about it.
Move over Scrooge, a church in Kentucky is skipping Christmas — sort of. Crossroads Christian Church in Lexington isn’t suggesting bailing out on the celebration altogether, just the bad parts such as the stress, getting into debt and huge crowds, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. “We want to encourage people not to get so caught up in the trappings of the season that they miss the heart of what Christmas is about,” said Fred Turner, a pastor at the church. “We are not calling for people not to buy presents or put up trees, but we are trying to turn the focus on the things that matter.” Turner said the church got the idea from John Grisham’s newest book, “Skipping Christmas,” which has been made into the movie, Christmas with the Kranks, starring Tim Allen. Crossroads Christian began a series of weekly discussions on the “Skipping Christmas” campaign that focuses on helping the community find simplicity, joy, rest, belonging and Jesus, while skipping the loneliness, obligations and rush that come with the holiday. The last session will be on Christmas Eve. “We really think this is important because the heart of Christmas needs to be getting back to who Jesus is and why He cares,” Turner told the Lexington Herald-Leader. (http://www.charismanow.com)
Church’s ‘Skipping Christmas’ Campaign Focuses on God’s Gift, Charisma News Service, Dec. 14, 2004.
It sounds like this church had finally had enough. They wanted the true meaning of Christmas back, and were willing to go to great lengths to acquire it. For the remainder of our time together, we’re going to talk about how you perceive Christmas, and whether you think anything needs to change. And if so, are you willing to make those changes yourself?
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we begin, let’s all take a second to share our names and our favorite memory of Christmas.
- ASK A FEW: In your opinion, what is the best part of Christmas?
- ASK A FEW: Of course, I gotta ask the opposite question: What’s the worst part about Christmas?
- ASK A FEW: Crossroads Christian Church said they weren’t “bailing out on the celebration altogether, just the bad parts such as the stress, getting into debt, and huge crowds.” Do you think it’s possible to avoid stress, debt, and huge crowds during the Christmas season? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: What impact do you think that all the “merchandizing, stress, commercialization, etc. has had on Christmas?
- ASK A FEW: What if our church decided to “Skip Christmas?” What impact would that have on people or on you?
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: What’s the one thing you wish you could change about Christmas?
Read the following passage:
Before you read this verse, say, “This verse is usually used when talking about basic Biblical doctrine. Since the birth of Christ is one of the historical facts on which Christians base their beliefs, let’s relate this verse to Christmas.”
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
During our time together, we had a fun discussion about Christmas memories and Christmas hopes, and we even talked about the meaning of Christmas. We’ve come to acknowledge that lots of people celebrate Christmas in lots of different ways. Sometimes those ways are good and pleasing to God…and sometimes those ways are nothing more than a distraction from the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
The birth of Christ simply cannot be understated. Without His birth, He could not have taught us, healed us, preached to us, or died for us. If He didn’t die for us, there would be no hope for salvation from our sins!
I think some good ideas were generated in our small groups to help us “keep it real” when it comes to Christmas this year. I’m excited to hear how some of you will be bravely treating this wonderful holiday season. I think those ideas – if we truly enact them – will really help us keep the Christmas season focused on the correct subject: Jesus’ birth.
We’re going to close out by writing/making a simple note/card to Jesus, writing to Him what His birth means to us personally. Over the holidays, I encourage you to keep this card where you can see it and let God remind you that He loved you so much He sent Jesus to be born and to die for you.
Christmas: In your heart it’s about presents, or the presence of God. You choose.
Close in Prayer
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.