On the way home from midnight service, we listened one more time to The Gaithers’ Christmas CD, The Greatest Story Ever Told, pulling into the driveway to the last delicate note of Mary, Did You Know, blessing us as our heads hit pillow approximately 1 am. I am up ahead of Honey, talking to you in the pre-dawn morning light, waiting to grind the coffee beans. We have exactly 7 gifts under the tree for the two of us. The stockings each have DVDs, a jolly tradition to fatten the movie collection, and somebody got a new cologne to replace the Old Spice (finally).
Christmas. It is what it is, a day set aside to honor and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. We dress up, buy gifts, give to the poor, bake and cook and eat, send greeting cards and letters reporting the year on one page or just sign the card, and attend an extra worship service.
And this is good in its simplicity and adornment.
Then we diet or plan to diet.
I’ve posted many times my complaints of the Christmas machine, how it needs a face lift, a tweak here or there, that we should move the date, tear away the pagan symbols, etc. I still want to move it, I still want to retire the jolly old elf. Greg Laurie, a prominent minister in California, suggested we at least eliminate gift exchange in a effort to tone down the unrealistic expectation factor for people who become depressed or in debt trying. I don’t know if I agree with elimination, maybe reduce the pile under the tree and give more to those in need.
- research states Jesus was conceived during the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, and born the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall.
- Santa was originally a false god called Obed or Obid or some such name but is now publicized as a 19th century morph of Nicholas, born in Turkey in the early 300’s, who was a bishop in that early church father group, performed miracles, gave extravagantly to the needy, attended the Council of Nicaea from which he was thrown out and jailed for slapping another attendee who insisted Jesus wasn’t deity
- from that Council, Constantine made Christianity legal, profitable, and state run, adopting nearly all the pagan symbols from Babylon BTW (and we know how God just loves Babylon), renaming them Christian to attract the multitudes to the new easy religion and pay taxes to him. He was baptized and allegedly converted. If that’s right, I’m going to have a serious discussion with him in heaven right after I scold Eve (poor Eve. Maybe she’s heard it already).
Christmas today resembles nothing of Jesus’ day, Constantine trashed all things Jewish and lest we forget, Christianity is grafted into (not from) the Judeac root, Jesus Himself.
In spite of it all, those who get it worship not the baby, but the existing risen Lord Jesus and rejoice, celebrating through gift exchange and fullness of food, sharing both in Jesus’ name.
The world has gone overboard, twisting each detail. Christmas is an opportunity to profit, eat, drink, and be merry in all its temporary loud emptiness and glitter, avoiding the intent and meaning of Luke 2. It’s misplaced but we’ve mentioned that already.
(sigh) I can’t fix it. But I can tell it better. So can parents teach the real meaning, and please understand you are confusing your children when you let them actually truly believe in the unrecognizable morph of a false god, then a righteous servant of God into an elf in a red suit who can do magic. Let’s have some fun with fairy tales but call them fairy tales, games if you wish. Consider this. If they believe in Santa because you said to, and believe in Jesus because you said to, and find out Santa isn’t real, what about Jesus? Is He real or not?
The coffee is on. The stockings beg attention. One of my gifts is a tallit, a prayer shawl like those worn from Moses’ day, like in Jesus’ day, like He Himself wore. I can hardly wait to see it. I replaced Honey’s worn out Thompson Chain Reference study Bible. What a blessing he wears out Bibles when years ago he didn’t open it.
May the peace of the season dwell in your hearts. May your giving give all year. May the Messiah of the manger live in your homes.