Christmas is Personal
The thing about what is often referred to as "Christmas spirit" (this general sense of goodwill toward other human beings) tells us something about the nature of Christmas. Christmas is personal.
10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
This good news is for all the people. Then the angel said to them, "For unto you..." God sent Christ for people, not for a mass of humanity, but for individual people, specific people... for unto you. Don't forget that Christmas is personal, because Christ is a personal Savior. He died for you. That's personal.
But let's also apply that to others.
The thirtysomething plumber who happens to sit across from you on a rainy wintery day at Starbucks is someone Christ knows intimately. Jesus knows the hairs on this guy's head, what this guy is going to say before he says it, the details of his DNA, and everything else about this guy. Jesus looks at this guy and has compassion for him.
The mother of two who just lost her husband and claims that she doesn't believe in God and that Jesus is overrated is known perfectly by the very One she denies. Peter denied Jesus three times and after the resurrection Jesus told the women to "go tell the disciples and Peter." (Mark 16:7) Jesus had a message for everyone, but it was also personal. Peter needed to know it was personal -- for unto you. Everyone that Christ died for He died for personally.
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Jesus might have looked at a crowd, but He saw individual, specific souls, just as the Apostle Paul stated, "The Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Gal. 2:20) Christ came for people and we can share in the discovery of who those people are by proclaiming the good news of great joy -- "for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
Even when they dismiss the whole idea, like the lady who recently lost her husband and had two young children. She said to me, "My mind's made up. There's just no evidence for it."
I politely disagreed and told her that there's plenty of evidence. "Here's something to consider," I said. "You'll never be able to call a Christian narrowminded if you yourself aren't willing to consider the possibilities." Then I said that we should all be willing to grow in our perspectives whatever we believe.
At this point, I didn't want to force the issue, so I thanked her for her time. But after a couple of steps, I turned and invited her to our spiritual discussion group on Mondays. And I gave her a card and told her that I'd send her a copy of a book that was written just for skeptics called Making Sense of God.
After that, she asked more about the discussion group. I told her we have another atheist in the group and that the group's function is to get people to ask why they believe what they believe.
What began as a conversation with someone who seemed cold and closed, ended with us warmly shaking hands. Then we exchanged names. Because it's personal.
Christmas is personal.