In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:1-6 NIV)
A couple of weeks ago, families gathered around their dinner tables and gave thanks to God for all of the blessings He has poured upon them. Less than a day later, a lot of those same people who praised God went running into shopping centers in a greedy frenzy to get good deals on presents they will give to others in the Name of Christ. In blatant disregard for the God who loves and provides for them, people feed their own avarice instead of letting the Spirit nourish them with love and kindness. This is the season when we are supposed to reflect upon and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Yet, our culture has so many commercial demands on our time and effort, that we tend to put the festivities in front of the true meaning of Christmas.
The Christmas season brings with it a plethora of controversy. Atheists and other groups opposed to all things religious get their skivvies in an uproar over public displays of the Nativity and people having the nerve to say, “Merry Christmas”, instead of, “Happy Holidays.” They claim that such outward religious rhetoric is offensive to them. Aw! These same offended persons seem to have no problem pouring their vile, profane hatred all over the landscape in an attempt to demand that Christians be tolerant of all other belief systems, including their own system of unbelief. It is just sad. In 2012, I wrote an open letter to all unbelievers with the hope that some might actually back off, Dear Unbeliever(s). Please take a look at it. It might help you deal with some of the hate you will receive this Christmas.
And then there are the Christian Scrooges who claim that certain traditions we enjoy at Christmastime are blasphemous. These poor wretched people would rather suffer their Faith in God than rejoice in Him, never acknowledging that we must celebrate the birth and life of Jesus in order to realize His death and Resurrection. The cold hard truth of the matter is that we do not know when Jesus Christ was born! December 25th is the day we celebrate His birth. (In 2009 my Pastor put together a wonderful teaching on the traditions that surround Christmas, Is it Okay to Celebrate Christmas? I highly recommend you take some time and listen)
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” (Luke 2:14:15 NIV)
We are not celebrating a “holiday”. We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ! We do not decorate holiday trees; we decorate Christmas trees. We do not give gifts to prove our love for others; we give gifts because of the One who gave us the ultimate gift, the salvation of our souls. We should remember to rejoice in and praise the Name of Jesus Christ every day of the year. It is during this hectic time that unbelievers, heretics and hypocrites are most active in judging how Christians live their lives. Perhaps we should give them something to talk about! Maybe we should conduct our lives through the Christmas season and the rest of the year in a manner fitting of the title: Christian. We don’t have to be perfect, because the One we worship is perfect. God has called us out of the darkness and given us His Light to shine into this dark world. What say you, Christian? Are you willing to be called a fool by unbelievers when you say, “Merry Christmas”? Or will you bend to the devil’s demand that you not offend anyone and say, “Happy Holidays” instead?
As the chaos of this Season ensues, may God bless each of us with patience toward those who do not believe and love for those who do. Let us rejoice in the Name of Jesus Christ and show the world that Christmas is about Him.