Till It Happens in Your Heart


Till It Happens in Your Heart

What’s your favourite Christmas song? My all-time favourite Christmas song has always been Christmas Isn’t Christmas, written by Jimmy and Carol Owens in 1980. I first heard and sang this song as a teenager. It was often a focal piece as my youth group went carolling from home to home. Besides being an inviting and warm melody that just embraces you, the lyrics of the song speak of the real reason and meaning of Christmas. The chorus declares that:

Christmas isn’t Christmas till it happens in your heart
Somewhere deep inside you
Is where Christmas really starts
So give your heart to Jesus
You’ll discover when you do
That it’s Christmas, really Christmas for you.

This song reminds Christians of our relationship with the Christ, or Saviour of the world, Jesus, the true focus of Christmas. We are reminded that we are Christians when “Christ may dwell in [our] hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:17). Our first Christmas happened when we first put our faith in Jesus. This is what it means to “give your heart to Jesus” and also why “Christmas isn’t Christmas till it happens in your heart.”

The heart represents our faith commitment to Jesus. That is also why this song is a poignant reminder for Christians to continue in our faith and to continue to let our Lord Jesus dwell in our hearts and in our lives. This means that we continue to give our hearts to him every moment and every day. This is the only way in which Christmas becomes real for us, not just on Christmas day, or in the season of Advent, but all the time.


This song is also an invitation to the rest of the world to encounter this living Christ. If you have been joining us in our services or programmes here in Holland Village Methodist Church (HVMC), are a friend or family of one of our brothers and sisters in Christ in our church, or happened to come across our online church magazine, MOSAIC, and are reading this, this song invites you to experience the real Christmas.

The real Christmas is about Jesus. Christmas is not a “season” as some thoughtlessly suggest, offering a stripped down and meaningless wish of “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holiday.” It is not primarily about buying presents, endless feasting, or warm feelings, although these can be a part of a genuine experience of Christmas when they point to Jesus.

The real Christmas is about Jesus and you. Jesus is the real reason for celebration and hope at Christmas. This is a celebration and hope not just for Christians but for all, and you in particular, if you would hear the gentle tug of the Spirit of Christ at your heart this Christmas.

The birth of the baby Jesus, the death of the Christ, the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, and the message of the church of Jesus, today, represent an ongoing invitation to all of us to know, believe in, and follow God revealed to us in Jesus, the Christ. Because of Jesus, we can be made right with God and whole as persons, enjoy peace and communion with God and others, and experience and express love and life to the full.

What you need to do to get started as the song suggests, is to give your heart to Jesus. You do this by believing in your heart and confessing with your lips, your faith in this living Jesus, the Christ (Romans 10:9; John 3:16). When you do so, “somewhere deep inside you is where Christmas really starts.” When you give your heart to Jesus this Christmas, “You’ll discover…that it’s Christmas, really Christmas for you.”

Rev Dr Bernard Chao
Taken from Holland Village Methodist Church
Mosaic Newsletter, 21 Dec 2023


If you are looking for an English Speaking, Inter-denominational Church for worship and fellowship in Ho Chi Minh City. We welcome you to join us in our Sunday Service

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