Christians and non-Christians alike celebrate Christmas. Some celebrate based on family tradition, some out of nostalgia, some based on their faith, some because of the fellowship, and others simply because it is what everyone does. For many, Christmas is a time of cozy fellowship. For others, it can be a time of loneliness, experiencing the pain of a broken or disrupted relationship, or the emptiness after a friend, family member, or loved one passed away. Whether you are celebrating joyfully or prefer to run away from Christmas, the so often quoted ‘spirit of Christmas’ is in the air during the December days. It is a time to have a closer look at the mind of Christmas.
Christmas typically is a time of giving. Sure, enjoy exchanging gifts with loved ones, but remember to rejoice as well! After all, during Christmas, we celebrate God’s ultimate gift: the birth of Jesus, the ‘Christmas-child’. To me, it is Christmas every day, because Christmas is about having a Christmas mind: the mind of Christ.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.”Philippians 2:5-7 (NKJV).
What is the mind of Christmas?
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ: He made Himself of no reputation, being like us, to serve us. Jesus’ mind was a serving mind.
Calvin Coolidge (30th President of the United States), touches on the intrinsic meaning of Christmas: it is a state of mind.
“Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world.”
Our minds are the elements that enable us to be aware of the world and our experiences, to think, and to feel; it is our consciousness and thoughts. Coolidge continues with what the Christmas mind stands for: peace, goodwill, and mercy. These three are at the core of Christmas and at the core of Christianity.
The quote then continues with ‘if we think’ of these things…. Thinking happens in our mind, and it is then that a Savior is born in us. As a result, Jesus –the light of the world (John 8:12)- will shine over us, enabling us to be truly the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), bringing hope to the world. Savior, light, hope, these are another three core ingredients of a Christmas mind.
The Christmas season is a time of celebration; a time for giving and not simply a day we exchange gifts. The spirit of Christmas is in the ‘togetherness’. It’s a selfless time where we forgive, take stock of what’s important, and become ‘better’ versions of ourselves. That’s why even unbelievers celebrate Christmas.
But when it comes to a state of mind, it is a different story. Typically, having a Christmas mind is for Christians. As mentioned in the president’s quote, it is cherishing peace and good will, having mercy, letting the Savior rise in us, being a shining star, and bringing hope to a dark world.
There is no season linked to having the mind of Christmas. Seasons come and go, but having the Christmas mind (or Christmas spirit) is constant. As Christians, we ought to reflect the mind of Christ every second of our lives. That is the ultimate mind of Christmas.
Christmas: a state of mind
Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus. Mary was the first person who knew about the coming Christ. When the angel told her she would conceive, she reacted with worship. And exactly that describes the mind of Christmas: worship.
Mary shows that the spirit of Christmas is not the spirit of family bonding, or the spirit of giving, or even the spirit of rejoicing. All of those things are well and good, but Mary teaches us that the genuine spirit of Christmas is a spirit of humility and worship.
All the participants of the first Christmas reacted the same: with praise, thanksgiving, and giving glory to God. That is pure worship! Worship is not an act; it is a state of mind, an attitude. Even though king Herod was lying, he picked up on the spirit of the event and asked where the child was born, “That I may come and worship him also.” He understood the appropriate attitude was to worship.
Everybody was worshiping. This is the mind of Christmas, and it is the supreme theme of Christmas for Christians celebrating the birth of our savior.
Christmas = Worship = A state of mind
Worship is the attitude of a heart filled with wonder and gratitude at what God has done. In worship, there is no thought of personal needs or personal blessings or gain, only total abandonment to God in praise and adoration, and that’s exactly how Mary reacted to the news of Christ’s birth. She worshipped with abundance.
She worshipped because of the good news of the (coming) birth of Christ. As Christians, we can worship God every day of our life because of the same good news. It shows our heart and our spirit; it reveals our gratitude.
What is the mind of Christ?
Letting the mind that was in Christ be in us refers to an attitude. We ought to have the same attitude that Christ had.
- Looking at life from our Savior’s point of view and having His values and desires in mind.
- Discerning spiritual things that the natural man (or the unbeliever) cannot understand or see.
- Thinking God’s thoughts and not think as the world thinks.
- Having a shared perspective of humility, compassion, and dependence on God.
- Being how Jesus is: joyful, charitable, generous, kind, and forgiving.
Who can have the mind of Christ?
The mind of Christ is something all believers have, as the Apostle Paul said, “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). Having the mind of Christ is the same as being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. It’s important to understand that having the mind of Christ is not reserved only for “perfect” people. Every believer has access to the mind of Christ.
How can we have the mind of Christ?
The mind of Christ is only accessible through faith in Jesus Christ (John 1:12; John 3:16; 1 John 5:12). Once we are saved, the Holy Spirit comes to us and fills us with understanding and hope of a future inheritance. It is through the Holy Spirit that we can have the mind of Christ. We cannot earn it, we cannot work for it, we cannot buy it. We attain it through faith at the moment of salvation (Romans 5:1-2; Acts 2:38). It is purely by grace.
Formation of the Christmas mind
We need to renew our minds consistently, by moving away from the mind of the flesh and into the mind of Christ. Ultimately, all who have the mind of Christ will be sanctified and changed by the Holy Spirit. This process unfolds over a lifetime and God is faithful to bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6).
With every step we take and every second we live, we grow into fully having the Christmas mind. A mind reflecting peace, goodwill, and mercy. A mind that is focused on our Savior, hope, and light.
Father, we thank You for giving us Your Son and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I am grateful. Lord, I surrender my mind, my heart, and my spirit to you. Fill me and sanctify me. Let my thoughts be Your thoughts, let me see the world through Your eyes, and let me be how Jesus is. My heart’s desire is to reflect Jesus in all that I do, to be the salt of the earth and a light to the world.
Let this mind be in me that is also in Christ Jesus, my savior. I want to reflect the true mind of Christmas and be the living example of Jesus here on earth.
Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
©2021; Christel Owoo.
Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash