Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Putting Christ back in Christmas




If I could have been present at any event in human history, there’s a lot to choose from: the creation of
the universe, the parting of the Red Sea, fire coming down from heaven and burning up the sacrifice and
the altar Elijah had set up, Jesus calming the sea, His ride into Jerusalem when He told the Pharisees if
His disciples were silent the very stones would cry out, the resurrection of Lazarus, the discovery of the
empty tomb, The angel saying, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?,” the day when Thomas
stuck his hand in Jesus’ side, Jesus’ ascension into heaven, Pentecost… the list goes on and on.

There are many glorious and wonderful moments in the Bible, but the one I would choose, if I could,
would be to be with the shepherds when the angels appeared to them:

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they
were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news
of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths
and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host
praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he
is pleased!
” (Luke 2:8-14 ESV)

To see the entire sky filled with angels praising God would be beyond amazing. The fulfillment of
thousands of years of prophecy being announced and the thrill of knowing the Messiah had finally come
would be the most awe-inspiring thing I can think of.

But, as I look at what goes on in our culture, I see this moment slowly fading away from what Christmas
is in America. More and more, Christmas is becoming the holiday of snowmen, reindeer, and Santa.
That’s ironic because the word “holiday” means “Holy Day.”

Sorry, but Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is not holy. (Note: I do not hate Rudolph. He’s cute, he’s
cuddly, but he is not holy.)

Many of you will remember “A Charlie Brown Christmas” which first aired in 1965. In it, Charlie Brown is
dismayed by the increasing commercialization of Christmas. In one of the greatest moments in television
history, Linus quotes that exact Bible verse above to explain to Charlie Brown the true meaning of
Christmas.

The funny thing is, the people who created “A Charlie Brown Christmas” weren’t sure it was a good
idea to include that verse. When doubts arose about the wisdom of doing so, it was “Peanuts” creator
Charles Schulz himself who said, “If we don’t do it, who will?”

As we see Christmas slowly being eroded away, maybe one way to bring a little more Christ back into
Christmas is to commit that verse to memory, keep it close to our hearts as we shop and decorate and
share time with our families, and always be ready to speak it with joy whenever the Holy Spirit presents
an opportunity to do so.

If we don’t do it, who will?

How about it, fellow Christians? Is this a good idea? Or, can you think of other good ways to slowly but
surely put Christ back into Christmas?

Today’s Praise

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had
been told them
. (Luke 2:20 ESV)

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