Christians and non-Christians alike celebrate Christmas. Some celebrate based on a 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. No matter how Christians celebrate Christmas, there is a shared theme, and that is the Christmas mind.
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 Christmas spirit is in the air during the December days, throughout the Christmas season.
During the Christmas season, many people can joyfully say: I have Christmas on my mind. If they are Christian or not, Christmas seems to be related to our minds. It is a time to have a closer look at the Christmas mind.
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 a state of mind and 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)
Calvin Coolidge quote about the Christmas 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.”
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ: He made Himself of no reputation, being like us, to serve us. Jesus’ state of mind was a serving mind. Our minds enable us to be aware of the world and our experiences, to think, and to fee. Our minds are our consciousness and thoughts.
Coolidge’s quote 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. It explains what the true meaning of the spirit of Christmas is.
Coolidge’s quote continues with “if we think on these things”. Thinking happens in our minds, 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.
Why is Christmas season so important?
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.
Christmas is an important season, not just a season in a calendar year, but a season in our lives. When we have a Christmas mindfulness, we will pay attention to others, forgiveness, and giving, not only during the actual Christmas season, but throughout the year and throughout our lives.
Even unbelievers celebrate Christmas. But for the true meaning of the spirit of Christmas, the state of mind, it is a different story. Typically, having a Christmas mind is for Christians. As cited in the president’s quote, it is a state of mind which leads to 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 Christmas as a state of mind (or Christmas spirit) is constant. As Christians, we should reflect the mind of Christ every second of our lives. That is the ultimate mind of Christmas, and the ultimate state of mind for Christians.
What is Christmas spirit?
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 showed 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 true meaning of the 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. Even though we call it Christmas spirit, it is a state of mind. As Christians, we can reflect this state of mind throughout the year, not just during the Christmas season.
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 and reveals our gratitude. It is the genuine reflection of the Christmas mind.
What is the mind of Christ?
Since Christmas is a state of mind, it is essential to understand what mind that is. God wants us to reflect His mind; not our own, not that of our parents, not that of our pastor, not that of an idol, and not that of the world. As Christians, we regularly need to check the state of our mind: do we still reflect the mind of Christ?
Having the mind of Christ is not linked to that what we do as Christians. Things like studying the Bible for ourselves, meditating on the Word of God, and declaring God’s Word over our lives are all good and vital for our wellbeing. But they don’t truly define us as Christians. What defines us is our mindset and our inner being. Our minds should reflect the mind of Christ, God’s Son.
Having the mind of Christ refers to an attitude. God wants us to have the same attitude that Christ had. Lord Jesus didn’t just do things. The state of His mind was fully linked to God’s mind. In the same way as Jesus reflected the mind of His Father in everything He did, we can reflect the mind of Christ in everything we do and in the way we think.
Having the mind of Christ means:
- 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.
Have the mind of Christ
God wants us to have the same state of mind as Jesus had. He wants us to have the mind of Christ. You may wonder how can I have a Christ like mind? The best place to go to is God’s Word, the Bible.
In 1 Corinthians 2 verse 16, the Apostle Paul shows the mind of Christ is something all believers have: “we have the mind of Christ”. Having the mind of Christ is the same as being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. It’s essential to understand that having the mind of Christ is not reserved only for ‘perfect’ people. Every believer has access to the mind of Christ.
Whether we have sinned, are new believers, are born and raised in the faith, made mistakes, or had fallen from our faith and returned to God, we can all have the mind of Christ. That is simply what the bible tells us.
Through this state of mind, we can celebrate Christmas every day. That is not literally with Christmas trees, gifts, singing carols, or any other way of how Christians celebrate Christmas. What it means is worshipping God each day and every moment of our lives. Thanking Him for the gift of life. Being generous to others, not only during the Christmas season, but throughout the year. Being kind to, and sharing with, believers and unbelievers.
There are so many ways in which we can reflect the mind of Christ, as long as we keep this state of mind and not deviate from it.
Who can have a Christ like mind?
Now, how can we reflect this state of mind? 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 get it through faith at the moment of salvation (Romans 5:1-2; Acts 2:38). Receiving and having the mind of Christ is purely by grace.
Having the Christmas mind, the mind of Christ, is one thing; but keeping and maintaining that state of mind is another thing.
Development of the Christ like state of mind: a Christmas mind
Being born again gives us access to the mind of Christ and the right to live the Christmas state of mind throughout our lives. That is a given. We need, however, to maintain that. We need to reflect now and then on our way of living and our mindsets. Do we still reflect 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
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
With every step we take and every second we live, we grow into fully having the Christmas mind. A state of mind that reflects peace, goodwill, and mercy. A mind that is focused on our Savior, hope, and light.
Father, thank You for giving us Your Son and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I am grateful. I don’t deserve it and I can’t give you anything back for it.
But what I can do is surrender my mind, my heart, and my spirit to you. I surrender myself to You as a sacrifice, as an act of worship.
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. 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.
Let this mind be in me that is also in Christ Jesus, my savior. I want to the state of my mind to reflect the true mind of Christmas and be the living example of Jesus here on earth. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.