Dear Linwood Family and Friends,
“And that is what Christmas is all about!”
Most of the time those words – or more accurately the words that immediately proceeds them – makes me want to a) scream, b) cry, or c) throw up! I may be overstating this for effect, but not by much.
Let me explain.
About a month ago it began and now it is in full swing – the Christmas season” or the “holiday season,” depending on who is describing it.
I know that there are those who bemoan what they see as attempts to take Christ out of Christmas in the public arena. Frankly, that is not one of my concerns, especially is these are the actions of secular organizations. I do not hold the local government, or the discount stores, or the on line zip line company responsible for promoting or preserving my religious convictions.
Besides, the signs of symbols of Christ have so permeated our culture that it will be a long, long, long time before they disappear. Even if the nativity scenes are removed from the front of city hall and the store clerks says “Happy holidays”…..
- Every Christmas tree and every evergreen wreath declares eternal life made possible through Jesus.
- Every red bow and every red poinsettia plant are signs of the blood of Christ, a Savior who was born to die.
- Every twinkling light and every lit candle remind me that Jesus is the light of the world.
- Every purple or gold decoration declare Christ’s royalty, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
- Every gift given and received recall the gifts given Jesus by the magi.
This brings me back to my initial outburst. Something I simply cannot stomach during this season is when someone takes one aspect, one ingredient, or one virtue of Christmas as declares, “And that is what Christmas is all about!”
It happened the other night. I was watching a PBS Christmas time special. Part of the way through the show got interrupted for an appeal for contributions. The announcer ended the appeal by saying; “This is the perfect time to make a generous gift to this PBS station because this is what Christmas is all about.”
NO IT ISN’T! I felt like jumping out of my chair and shouting these words.
I am sure that I am also going to hear someone telling about a family that traveled through the snow, gathered around the table at Grandma’s house, and filled themselves with too much ham, sweet potatoes, fruit cake, and eggnog “because that is what Christmas is all about.”
And without question as some point I will hear someone tell the story of a young boy who saved his meager allowance for six months to buy a Christmas gift for his widowed mother, which, of course, “is what Christmas is all about.”
NOT EVEN CLOSE!
Christmas is all about Jesus. It is about the incarnation – God in the flesh in our midst. It is about Christ becoming the way that we can be freed from our sin and the world’s sin. That is what Christmas is all about.
Don’t get me wrong. Christmas encompasses many things – many moods, many emotions and many virtues. It is good to be with family at Christmas, and I can get into gift giving (and receiving!). Yet, each and all of these fall short of the incredible, wonderful, powerful truth of Christmas.
God has entered our world and made His home among us. He has taken our broken condition upon Himself and offered Himself in our place for payment of sin. Thus one day we can enter into God’s heavenly neighborhood and be at home with God for eternity!
That is what Christmas is all about. I don’t want to settle for anything less. What about you?
Yours in Christ,
Hu Auburn, Linwood Park Pastor