Pew Research has released a survey about where people find meaning and fulfillment. I don’t think you will be surprised by their findings. Among U.S. adults, here’s where they found a sense of contentment and meaning:

  • 83% – Spending time with family
  • 71% – Being outdoors/experiencing nature
  • 66% – Being with friends
  • 47% – Possessing a religious faith
  • 33% – Doing volunteer work
  • 30% – Meditating

This survey also captures why the majority of Americans consider Thanksgiving and/or Christmas their favorite holiday. These are key holidays that pull at least three of these together: time with family, time with friends, and a focus on faith.

We can also add “volunteer work” to the mix, because during Christmas, so many of us think about others more than we do at other times. We buy or donate for those in need, and we give gifts for the joy of others.

I value all these things too, but I’m concerned about what we’re left with when the Christmas parties are over and friends go home … when relatives pack up after the holidays and head to their own homes … when the emphasis on giving dissipates.

There’s still the element of religious faith, but for too many, that faith is wrapped up in the religious things associated with Christmas: the little baby Jesus in the manger scene … the Christmas carols and hymns … traditions … the sentimentality of faith.

Frankly, that’s no faith at all.

It’s not enough to embrace Jesus the baby. The story of Christmas has no real impact on our lives unless we also embrace Jesus the Messiah bruised, bloodied, and dying the death we deserve.

Let me challenge you to do something a little out of the ordinary from the typical Christmas traditions. Don’t just read the narrative of the birth of Christ (Luke 1–2). Gather around the Christmas tree and read the account of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection (Luke 23–24). If that feels odd, know this: Jesus didn’t come to give you Christmas; He came to give you Easter.

We couldn’t have Easter without first having Christmas, but without Easter, Christmas becomes meaningless. Absolutely meaningless. Remove the cross and resurrection—the reason Jesus came to earth—and Christmas becomes nothing more that the religious sentimentality so many people hold fondly to every December. But there is no true meaning or fulfillment in an empty sentimentality.

Don’t look to the manger for a seasonal faith to give you a sense of contentment and fulfillment. Look to the cross. Trust Christ. Look to Him as Lord and your faith will become something rich. You’ll find a contentment and fulfillment in Christ that won’t get packed away with the tinsel and ornaments.

“Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross.

“For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:65-11).

“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9).

Subscribe to this blog or like our Facebook page. And share this post with others.

If you would like a printable version of this, check out PrintFriendly.