I know that not all Christians celebrate Christmas the same way. Some in the brotherhood have Santa Claus into their homes, have a Christmas tree and go all out with exchanging presents. Others almost completely ignore the holiday, reasoning that since we don’t know if December 25 was really the birthdate of Jesus, we should avoid turning the holiday into some kind of idolatrous celebration. Many brethren are somewhere in between those two positions. Personally, I don’t judge how Christians choose to celebrate Christmas and I hope they don’t judge me. I see Christmas as a great holiday of family, gifts, love and excited little ones. I don’t associate December 25 as a date with any more religious significance than any other date. I just enjoy the warm feeling that the holiday seems to bring. So then, why not enjoy a day of good cheer and love?
However we choose to look at Christmas, an undeniable truth is that the world is certainly thinking more about Jesus on December 25 and really, isn’t that a good thing? I can’t help but think that Paul would have taken advantage of the world’s attention on Christmas in his quest to save souls. Paul wrote, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” (Colossians 4:5 NIV84). I think Christmas provides us with such an opportunity.
One thing I find interesting about Christmas is just how many people have no idea about the basic facts about the story of Jesus’ birth. Even Christians have been led astray by the teachings of the world. If you don’t believe this, take this little test that I borrowed from Steve Higginbotham’s blog:
-True or False: The Bible says the angel Gabriel appeared to Joseph to inform him that Mary was with child.
-True or False: The Bible says that three wise men came to the manger to worship and give gifts to Jesus.
-True or False: The Bible says that an unknown number of wise men came to the manger to worship Jesus.
-True or False: The Bible says a bright star appeared in the sky and led the shepherds to the manger.
-True or False: The Bible says a bright star appeared in the sky and led the wise men to the manger.
-True or False: The Bible says the shepherds and the wise men were present on the night of Jesus’ birth.
-True or False: The Bible says an innkeeper told Mary and Joseph that there was no room in the inn, thus Jesus was born in a manger.
How do you think you did? Here’s a clue: If you answered “true” to any of the above then you’re wrong, because the answer to each question is “false”. If you don’t believe me, read your Bible!
Sunday morning we are going to continue our “3:16 Series” by looking at the greatest gift ever given as we explore John 3:16, the “Golden Verse of the Bible.” While the world celebrates Christmas, my hope is that we don’t get lost in the arguments of when Jesus was born or how to celebrate His birth, but instead focus on WHY He was born. The “why”, of course, is the best reason of all to celebrate God’s great gift!
Such a great gift is certainly good news of great joy. Because of that, the celebration of God’s graciousness should not be limited to just one day, whether it is December 25 or whatever day you want to assign to the birth of Jesus. Instead we should praise God every single day for the great gift of His Son, our Savior, Jesus!