Each year during the Christmas season, it is not unusual for us to hear people refer to “the spirit of Christmas.” What exactly is the spirit of Christmas? Our Lord Jesus Christ clearly answers that question in Mark 10:45 as He identifies His purpose in coming to this earth, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Our Savior made this statement in a context when his disciples James and John were arrogantly arguing about who would sit to the right and to the left of Him when Christ would sit on His throne when He established His kingdom. Sadly, these disciples, like so many others, failed to grasp the message of Christ that relational greatness is not to be found by proudly being served by others, but rather through humbly serving others. Our Lord Jesus Christ knew precisely why He came to this earth. He stated His mission in both a negative and positive manner. He did not come to be served, but rather to serve. In the brief phrase “but to serve” we find the spirit of Christmas, and the key to successfully doing relationships with others. In this relationally broken world that has lost its civility, we need to recapture the spirit of Christmas, which is a spirit of servanthood. Relational success is found in unselfishly serving others, rather than by selfishly demanding to be served. These are radical words in a culture like ours that is driven with the pervasive spirits of selfishness, demandingness, and entitlement. The relational failure that permeates our homes, communities, churches, and world is the direct result of living with an inward mindset. This is a mindset that selfishly demands to be served. In contrast, an outward mindset is a mindset that unselfishly seeks to serve. This is the true spirit of Christmas. To what extent did the Lord Jesus Christ come to serve? The explanation of that question is found in the expression, “to give His life a ransom for many”. The first Christmas was a rescue mission where Jesus Christ came to this earth to voluntarily, unconditionally, and self-sacrificially give His life for selfish sinners. As sinful human beings we are incapable of saving themselves in light of God’s holiness. A ransom is a price that is paid in order to set a slave, or a prisoner free. The price that has been paid to rescue sinners from the wrath and judgment of a holy God is the death of Jesus Christ which resulted in Christ redeeming us at the costly price of shedding His blood for us upon the cross (1Pet. 1:18-19). The Christmas season provides each of us with an opportunity to explore the true spirit of Christmas. If you want to improve the quality of your relationships, allow the spirit of Christ, and the spirit of Christmas to impact your relational approach to others. Our Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself, and came to this earth as God in human flesh. Through His example of humility, He has given us His prescription for relational success. That prescription is found in the words, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” The spirit of Christmas is a spirit of relational servanthood. Seize the opportunity that this Christmas season will provide for you to positively improve the quality of all of your relationships. The formula is a simple one. As we live with the attitude of Christ (Phil. 2:5), which is the attitude of a servant, we will discover the spirit of Christmas and the key to our relational success.
Mark J. Crocco
Owner, Integrity Leadership Development Inc