Last week, I went into the Gap to buy a gift card for a young friend of ours. I asked for one that said “Merry Christmas” and the clerk said, “Oh, you won’t find anything like that in here.” I was stunned. Then I remembered an email I received from the American Family Association on its “Naughty or Nice” list listing retailers who were friendly or openly hostile to this annual opportunity to celebrate the birth of Christ.
I made a mental note to go back and check that “Naughty or Nice” list as I thanked the clerk, but told here that I would go elsewhere.
Why would any company that does business in the United States go out of its way to insult 90 percent of the population? Could it be that we are so busy “celebrating” that we have forgotten the reason for the season or that we no longer care?
The truth is there are some Christians who are hostile to Christmas. When the Puritans ruled England they outlawed the practice. They did the same here after establishing colonies in the New World.
The exact date of the birth of Christ is unknown. Early Christians may have adopted December 25 to coincide with the celebration of the winter solstice and the date the Romans marked the birthday of their sun god. Everyone was already in a party mood.
Some say this is a bad thing, and to that I borrow the words of Charles Dickens and say, “Bah humbug!”
In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote, “Don’t be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” It is likely that’s what those early Christians had in mind when they adopted this date — to turn this celebration for the sun into one that honors the birth of God’s son.
Since Jesus was a Jew, it also is likely they adopted this date to coincide with Hanukkah, the festival of lights since Jesus is the “light of the world.”
December 25, Christmas, is celebrated around the world as a major festival day and is often observed as a public holiday, even in many countries with non-Christian populations.
So, why would we here in the U.S. abolish the practice in favor of political correctness? No one has to celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. In fact, no one has to celebrate Christmas at all, but in a nation that was settled by Christians fleeing persecution and with a government that was based on the principles set forth in the Bible, it is not only reasonable but right that we observe this day.
If you, as a Christian, ever have a reason to celebrate it is this: Christ sent his son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him, might be saved (John 3:17).
There is no way for a sinful man to stand before a righteous God on his own. Many have tried but all have failed. The good news is that God loved us so much that he made a way through Jesus.
God gave his chosen Jewish people the law to point out their need — our need — of a savior. Then, the promised Messiah, who was to be a blessing to all the nations (Geneses 18:18) was born. His birth, life and death were a fulfillment of the Hebrew scriptures.
What an awesome God to have given us this indescribable gift! All that is necessary to receive this gift is to be willing to accept it and believe. (Romans 10:9)
“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:20)
However, many still ignore Him. Why? For the simple reason that no one is there to show them the light. This is the beauty of the celebration of Christmas. It is a once-a-year opportunity to share the reason for the season to a receptive audience.
What are the words that are synonymous with Christmas? Peace and joy. These are two things everyone wants and yet now, more than ever before, they may seem out of reach.
We live in a world of change. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. It is such a comfort to know that God never changes. His promises are sure. With Him our future is secure.
Wishing each and every one of you the peace and joy that only comes from following Him.