Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christ In Christmas

JOHN 7:5-7
5) For neither did his brethren believe in him.
6) Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready.
7) The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.

Two years ago during the Christmas season, I was shopping for gifts at JCPenny and approached the counter to check out. Behind the counter were two women-- one appeared to be operating in a managerial capacity. The subordinate rung up my purchases, and handed the bags over to me and said “Have a Merry Christmas”. I reciprocated and prepared to balance my items to leave the service area. The “manager” abruptly turned to the checker and said in a low voice “From now on, do not say “Merry Christmas. We are to say “Happy Holidays”. When I got home, I emailed JCPenny my opinion on the incident. I never received a response from a representative concerning the matter.

There are all kinds of holidays, including religious holidays I do not celebrate. Ramadan is one, for it is a Muslim holiday and I am not Muslim. But because I am a Christian, do I seek to redefine how Muslims celebrate it? I am not Hindu, but do I seek to redefine how Hindus celebrate Lohri? No, I seek to spread the gospel of truth—Jesus Christ as Savior, but I do not seek to redefine holidays I do not believe in. I simply will not participate in such celebrations. Yet I will readily assert Christ is the only way—our only way to eternal life and not destruction.

I always celebrate the 4th of July--Independence Day in the United States. What if I should say, ‘well I don’t like the patriotic symbolism about it, so let’s seek to redefine it, to make it more acceptable to me. Let’s make fireworks and grilled burgers and hot dogs what it’s about, and forget the patriotic stuff’’. From now on we should say “Happy Fireworks Day” or “Happy Grilling Day” so not to offend those who may resent the historical significance of July 4th--yet live here. Someone should then rightfully question as to why I celebrate it all.

When it comes to Christmas and Easter, the meaning of these important celebrations are increasingly fading away. To find Christ depicted in Christmas cards require going to Christian specialty stores for the most part; as mainstream stores are scarce to offer such items anymore. Each year it seems Christmas becomes more commercial, and ever redefined by secular society. My point may seem rude and that is not my intention, but if you don’t like Christ in Christmas—why celebrate the holiday if you are motivated to change what it is really all about? Christmas is about Him--Jesus Christ. What day He really was born on is irrelevant to me; for December 25th is a celebration of His birth, and what His life, death and resurrection means for this world. He is the foremost reason for celebrating. And if you celebrate it, but not Him, why attempt to redefine it for all because you are uncomfortable? Sure giving gifts, egg nog around the fireplace, and children anticipating gifts under a tree Christmas morning has its special traditional place. But Christmas is about a Savior entering into the world to save all mankind. The fact many are offended by Jesus Christ is by no means a sufficient reason to attempt to redefine Christmas by refusing to acknowledge Him, and suppress what this holiday is really about. My hope is all will enjoy the Christmas season, but not modify it so as to exclude the original purpose of celebrating it.

JOHN 1:10-14
10) He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11) He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.