One of the phrases often heard in the Christmas holidays by Christians and non-Christians alike is ‘The spirit of Christmas.’ Many are mistaken about what the real spirit of Christmas is and I trust this will remind us again of what that really looks like.

The spirit of Christmas is not something you ‘catch’ in December, like you ‘catch’ a cold . . . It’s not something you should ‘catch’ when you enter a shopping mall. That’s likely to get some people in financial pressure and can also cause stressful shopping experiences . . . It’s not going out with people from the office or friends to a party and excusing your behaviour, because you were just getting into the ‘ Christmas spirit ‘ of things . . .

It’s not something you get into now, and get rid of in January. That’s not the real spirit of Christmas.

Let’s take a look at story of the Wise Men in Matthew 2:1-11

Won’t you take a moment now to read a passage of scripture in Matthew  2:1-11, about the real spirit of Christmas, seen in the testimonies of the witnesses at the birth of Jesus?

Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him. 

  1. The testimony of the wise men tells us that firstly they came from very far—seeking to catch a glimpse of the Lord.
  2. Secondly, they wanted to worship Him. They didn’t have to make the long journey, but they chose to.

How far are you willing to step out of your comfort zone this Christmas and beyond to see the Lord and worship Him? To put other activities aside to seek Him?

The Bible doesn’t say much else about the wise men, but studies show that they were learnéd men, knowledgeable in the study of the stars, medicine and science. Let’s have a spirit of wisdom this Christmas, shown by the way we live our lives. A wise woman of God will not go unnoticed! We can show wisdom in the way we give, make plans and live. And when people see our ‘good works’, it brings glory to God.

In Bethlehem in Judea, they replied, for this is what the prophet has written.

The testimony of the Chief Priests and scribes tells us that the real spirit of Christmas is not about myths and fables, but based on the Word and truth. Tell your children, tell other people what the celebration is really about. Tell them what the Word says about the birth of Jesus.

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

The real spirit of Christmas is a spirit of joy. Not just joy, but exceeding great joy. Lots of joy and abundant joy.

There was nothing ordinary about it. This is the kind of joy you don’t have to hide or excuse. Christmas brings joy, because it’s about Jesus! That’s why we sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let earth receive her King.”

They bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and myrrh.

Finally, Christmas is a spirit of giving—without expecting anything in return.

  • Gold is a sign of Christ’s royalty- acknowledging Him as King.
  • Frankincense, a sign of His divinity, it was burned as incense to God.
  • Myrrh represented His suffering. It was used to anoint bodies after death.

How can you show your gratitude and honour to your King, the one who suffered for you, giving His life as a ransom for yours? Let’s be witnesses whose lives testify of the real spirit of Christmas to the world around us!

Happy Christmas and every blessing for the New Year!

Nicola Pearce

Nicola, together with her husband Roger, pastors His People Church in Johannesburg. They have been married for 24 years and are loving raising their two teenage sons. Her passion is for prayer and seeing people’s lives practically changed by the Word of God.