We see less and less of the things we used to see around Christmas these days. When I was a kid growing up on the North Shore of Boston, we didn’t even much think about it until a while after Thanksgiving. There was no such thing as 'Black Friday,’ and the shopping frenzy didn’t really kick in until about the last two weeks before; however, once the season did kick into gear, it was amazing.
Everywhere one looked, there was a Christmas theme. Every town square had a 'Manger Scene.’ Some of them were 'live,’ some not, and no one complained about anyone being offended. The ACLU didn’t raise a stink about public funds being used for street decorations, and no one was complaining. School kids made all sorts of Christmas stuff in public school classes across the country. There was even a place, not far from where we lived, called the Lynn Fells Parkway; people came from many miles away just to drive around this affluent neighborhood to see the Christmas lights display. Ask anyone you may know who lived anywhere near Boston at the time, and they’ll know about that. I haven’t been near there in decades; however I would guess that neighborhood probably no longer does that anymore.
Then of course, there was Christmas Eve. I imagine everyone has a different memories; some very happy, some very sad. I think a lot of people were trying to grasp the temporary emotion and sentiment found in some of the old classic movies. Everyone remembers the redemptive tales of Mr. Scrooge and Tiny Tim in “A Christmas Carol,” or the evening journey of George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Speaking of those, I don’t know about “A Christmas Carol,” however you won’t be seeing “It’s a Wonderful Life” anymore, at least not 24/7 like we used to this time of year. Copyrights y’know.
Anyway, putting all of that nostalgia aside, the season has been so commercialized and diluted with Santa Claus, flying reindeer, dancing elves, and Macy’s parades, we’ve lost focus along the way. Not to mention the many that would have us do away with Christmas altogether.
Like most Christians, I understand that there is no real Biblical teaching which demands we celebrate the birth of our Savior; the reason He came and His death and resurrection are the most important. I know of some groups and individuals that incessantly harp on the pagan roots of the celebration and consider it less than Christian. They’re entitled to their opinion.
However, this is my take and that of most of my brothers and sisters in the faith for joyously celebrating His birth. Just as most of us honor any other friend or loved one and commemorate their birth every year, we honor the day set aside to celebrate His earthly birth; that time when the Eternal Creator of the Heavens and Earth humbled Himself to dwell among His children and prepare Himself as the only sacrifice worthy to Him. He didn’t have to, we didn’t and don’t deserve it; however, He loves us so much that He allowed Himself to take human form, to become one of us, and ultimately be sacrificed on that Roman Cross 2000 years ago. He was sinless and that was the only acceptable sacrifice that could be offered once and for all to cover our sin nature. We celebrate His death and resurrection during the time of Passover and what we now refer to as Easter.
There’s a small catch though. While everyone is welcome to receive His free and undeserved gift of Grace, it is only bestowed upon those who recognize it for what it is and accept it on this side of Eternity. His life and death on that Cross was His knock on the door to our hearts to deliver the simple message of His Salvation.
So as we begin this final week leading up to our celebration and gift giving, the question always remains, will you hear His gentle knocking…? Will you open the door to your heart and welcome Him in and accept His free gift of everlasting life…? The choice is yours; He is knocking on your door today and always.
My hope and prayer is that you will look deep inside, hear His voice, and welcome Him.
In that hope, I bid you a joyous and very Merry Christmas. Good night my friends, rest well in the knowledge that your Heavenly Father loves you and wants very much to have a relationship with you.