MERRY CHRISTMAS! In today’s politically correct world of supposed tolerance, it has been deemed inappropriate by many to say, “Merry Christmas”. That greeting has been replaced with “Happy Holidays” but I resist that demand, although I am perfectly comfortable with wishing you a Happy Holiday I am not focused on man but God in my greeting. When I refer to Christmas I am not viewing it through the natural eye but in a spiritual connotation.
What is Christmas? It is not simply a date on the calendar. It is not simply a time of giving and receiving gifts. It is not simply a time of festivities, parties, and celebrations. It is more, much more! Some, even myself, have suggested that Christmas is an expression of the Greatest Gift ever given, but I have amended my view on that a bit to become more inclusive of all that God has done! The birth of Jesus the Lamb of God, the Sacrifice for Sin, the Savior of man was the beginning of a process and series of events that would lead to the Door of Salvation being opened for whosoever will. Not one of the steps in the process can be eliminated and the Full Salvation for mankind culminated in the Ascension of Jesus to the Right Hand of the Throne of God and will be completed when He returns for His bride. He was born, lived a sinless life, died a ransom for many, rose from the dead, and is now ascended to heaven. His birth, life, and death were parts for the Gift and each a reason for celebration, thanksgiving, and praise.
I’ve had people tell me “Christmas is for kids” and that is a wonderful thought as far as it goes, but is Christmas really for kids? If we make it so, we transform the event and reason for celebration from focusing on the Christ Child, the Savior of the World, born in Bethlehem that eventful night and make it about personal gratification and satisfaction. I love watching children open presents and see the smiles on their faces, and their eyes dance with glee. It is heartwarming but is that what we should be teaching the children about the meaning of this day? No, I am not trying to be a Grinch and ban Christmas or the exchange of presents and gifts. No, I am not trying to place a damper on the excitement and joy of anyone regarding this day. I only ask, Is, that what Christmas is all about? Is that truly the focus we should have on this day?
The Gift of Life that the Holy Spirit birthed in my heart when I repented of my sins and received Jesus as my savior still causes my heart to overflow with Joy! I know what it is like to spend Christmas away from family and loved ones and be in a war-torn country thousands of miles from my home. I know what it is to be among other men, comrades in arms, and watch their faces as they think of home and family. I know what it is to feel alone in the midst of a crowd of people in a far-away land. I was not a Christian while serving in Vietnam. I believed in God, but I had never received Jesus as my Savior and therefore my aloneness was magnified because of that emptiness in my heart. When I received Jesus, after coming home, Christmas took on a completely new meaning to me and I see it as not being about me, my children, grandchildren, Christmas pageants, cantatas, or anything of the sort. IT IS ABOUT CHRIST and GOD’S PLAN FOR SALVATION!
In our present politically correct world where there is a concerted effort to force us to accept beliefs foreign to our convictions and adopt practices that violate our core beliefs, Christmas can be a difficult time. I have experienced and watched many different reactions to “Merry Christmas” greetings. Some warm the heart and others bring a cloud of darkness. Jesus spoke, in Matthew 25 of the Day of Judgment when the small and great would stand before God. He spoke of those who would be sent away into outer darkness and, yet they would protest, “Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and not take care of you?” God’s response will be, “Truly, I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” Among the greatest moments of my life have been the times that I or with others provided food, clothing, comfort, or gifts to those needy and destitute. That sense of joy was amplified when done during the Christmas season.
Sadly, I’ve watched some become benevolent at Christmas not out of genuine love but because it was an ointment on their conscience. In their minds, this act of benevolence excused their lack of caring and concern the rest of the time. That is not Christmas! Christmas is Giving and Receiving but not in the traditional sense of exchanging material things. It is about RECEIVING God’s Son as our Personal Savior and as Peter and John at the Gate Beautiful with the lame man, “What I have I give.” You have freely received Jesus, therefore freely share Him with others. Everything you have comes from God’s hand, therefore, what you have is not yours so look at others through the eyes of our Savior.
Christmas is about JESUS! What Love, that the Father would allow His Son to come to earth, dwell among a people (humanity) that would reject him and were at enmity toward him. What Love, that the Lord, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, the Son of God, would be willing to be born into such a lowly position and endure such hardship then suffer and die for those that openly vowed to be His enemies. Christmas is LOVE! Christmas is HOPE! Christmas is LIFE!
Today, as you celebrate Christmas, I pray that you enjoy your festivities and treasure the wonderful memories from the moment but PLEASE take a little time and reflect in your heart and with your loved ones THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS! It is a birthday celebration and what birthday party do you go to where everyone there exchanges gifts but no gift is given to the one celebrating a birthday?
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE and I pray that God will grant you a joyous and prosperous New Year!