2000-12-08 - The Reason
Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was not room for them in the inn.
The old phrase, "Jesus is the reason for the season," is one of the few sayings I like this time of year. I realize that for many this is a very precious time of year and that the Christmas season is a real opportunity to focus their thoughts on Christ, His coming and His bringing us mercy. I think this is great. I do get asked lots of questions this time of year and I thought I would share some thoughts on typical questions.
"Do you have your tree up yet?" I have never had a tree. My parents do and always did when I was growing up, but I have never had one. I don't even own a Christmas ornament and my wife seems content in these things.
"Are you worried that Christmas has become too commercialized?" Nope. I am as worried about the commercialization of Christmas as I am about the commercialization of our roads by roadside billboards, or stadiums by major companies putting their names on stadiums around the country. I'm not worried about any of them.
"Has Santa replaced Jesus in the Christmas tradition?" Maybe, but I am convinced that somewhere between the ages of 10 and 12 every kid figures out that Santa is a myth and gets on with life. Parents, who raise their children in godliness, should have no problem placing the focus on Christ over Santa. Also, even though Santa is an anagram for Satan, I really don't think a link can be properly established. It is a coincidence.
I am actually more concerned about manger scenes than I am about Santa. Almost every manger scene has a baby Jesus which is to represent the Christ child, who is the Messiah, who is God. But we are warned in the second commandment (Exodus 20:4) to have no graven images. I think we ought to be very careful about using any representation of God. I would extend that concern to the use of the Christ child in the manger. I am not condemning it, but rather raising the chance that it might be an issue to consider.
"Have you finished all your shopping yet?" Nope. I will not be getting it all done until well after Christmas. I have to work on the days around Christmas and on Christmas Day proper. So my Christmas time with family will be before Christmas, on my wife's side, and well after Christmas on my family's side. I will buy some of my Christmas gifts during the after-Christmas sales.
This goes to the heart of how I view Christmas. I don't mind working on Christmas because for me, everyday is Christmas. I am just amazed that my employer is going to give me some time off, with pay, to spend with my family. This is a great scam. Paying me to see my family? I don't care if my employer gives me time off for Christmas, Labor Day, or National Be Nice to Ducks day. I am simply glad that I can enjoy some extended time with those I love.
I know there are many who don't do anything special for Christmas and others who go all out. It is a personal matter. Whatever we do we, ought to try to do all things seeking God's glory. 1 Corinthians 6:20 reminds us, "For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body." In all we do, during this season, or at any time, in any season, we are to seek to live faithfully to our God and our faith. However Christmas fits into that life pattern is very individual, but let us be sure we are finding ways to use this season, and every season, to grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria,