For the past several years we’ve posted basically the same thoughts in our annual Christmas blog. This year I will again share our convictions about Christmas, including a new direction we have chosen for our Christmas giving. I trust this year’s Christmas blog will again be a good reminder to one and all of the true meaning of Christmas. Comments would be appreciated.
Until Susan and I married on January 12th, 2011, her family (gift wise) consisted of nine people plus a handful of friends. Reasonable. But after my family stepped into the portrait, Sue and I had 18 additional family members to shop for plus another handful of my friends. Sue’s head was spinning, not knowing what would be the “perfect” gift for each family, not to mention each of my grandchildren, most of whom Sue had yet to meet.
“What are we going to do?” she asked that first year.
“Not a problem,” said I. (Praise the Lord for gift cards to Bass Pro Shop, Kohl’s, Michael’s, Toys-R-Us and so on.)
My grandchildren have grown out of it now but there was a time when they were much younger when each of them received more useless presents than they could open in an hour. On Christmas morning they would grab a package from their “New Gift” pile, tear ribbon and wrapping to shreds, give the newest gift a quick once over, then toss it on their “Been There, Done That” pile. Susan and I agree, that’s a sad commentary on today’s culture.
But there is something else we found that we agree on. We feel as though Jesus Christ is being quietly shut out of His own birthday party. I mean, did you ever show up at your birthday party and everyone else got all the presents? And to add to that insult, you were not allowed into your own party. Instead, there was some fat old man with white whiskers in a red suit there in your place. Well, that’s what happens every year at Christmas in many homes across America. After all, the birth of Christ is what the season is all about and He is rarely and barely remembered. Even shut out.
Jesus Christ was God the Father’s gift to the human race. Jesus came to be born of humble birth, live 33 plus years, be crucified and die as a substitute Who paid the debt we owe God the Father for our sins. Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb, then raised to life again after three days and nights. But in this day and age it seems we celebrate Santa Claus more than The Lord of The Universe! (And of course everyone but little children knows there is no Santa Claus!)
And what do most of us do with Christ on Christmas morning? Much like my grandkids did when they were small tykes, we grab Jesus from the pile, barely give him a glance, then discard Him on the “Not Interested in that Gift” pile while we look around eagerly for what’s next that might dazzle us or give us temporary pleasure in life.
Now I’m certainly not suggesting that all families nor all children are this callous toward the true meaning of Christmas. Nor am I saying that most think of The Lord Jesus Christ as a fantasy Santa Claus character. But I do believe that a majority of we fundamental born-again Christians here in the good-old USA have become mesmerized and absorbed into the world’s version of Christmas.
So what have Sue and I done about it? Two years ago the Holy Spirit gave us a fresh idea. He opened our thinking about taking all the combined dollars we would have spent on Christmas gifts for family and friends and give it instead to a Christian ministry we believe in, trust and support. In this way we feel we are giving a birthday gift to The Lord Jesus, on what we celebrate as His birthday. Oh, we still give birthday gifts throughout the year to family and friends, and gifts at other times of year for no particular reason other than the fact that we love that person.
So, are we suggesting that you follow our lead at Christmas? No. That would be between you and the Lord.
But we do suggest that we all put Christ back in Christmas, where He belongs. Let’s make a conscious effort to bring the gift of Christ’s love to others. Just ask Him to impress upon you what He might have you do this Christmas season to make Him real and alive to someone who does not know Him. Remember, Santa is not Jesus.
Have a wonderful Christmas season and a new year filled with the goodness of God,
Carl and Sue
My blogs usually end with a few paragraphs from one of my novels but this time I have chosen several beautiful passages from the Bible. May they touch your heart in a profound and saving way:
… the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23b. NIV.)
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16. NIV.)
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6. ESV.)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6. NIV.)