It’s the Christmas season again, and once again we hear stories of shoppers resorting to violence and reckless behavior. Reports come of shoppers storming department stores, doing anything they think necessary to get the best deal. It doesn’t surprise us any more at the excesses they go to trying to get the the hottest gift items even resorting to violence. We are hardly fazed by the lady who used pepper spray on fellow shoppers. We have grown to expect that holiday shopping is most successfully accomplished by those individuals that are the most aggressive. Those who don’t shop early, aggressively are left only the pickings left behind by the forceful. Indeed, we have grown to see, the Christmas season is not for the meek.
By this time anyone who has read this blog before is probably figuring that I’m about to embark on an extensive discourse on how our secular society has gone off the deep end and needs to find the real meaning of Christmas, and they would be right. Frenzied shoppers are only one evidence of a society that has totally missed the point. There are attempts by secular media to set people straight. Consider the Christmas specials on TV that emphasize that Christmas is for giving, or family or some such idea. However, those that follow God’s Word are quick to remind one and all that Christmas is nothing without Christ.
Nevertheless, even among Bible teaching, Bible preaching churches there is evidence that secular ideas have influenced what we truly think about Christmas. Consider the following. This year Christmas falls on a Sunday. Many Bible believing churches are altering their schedules to accommodate this situation. Morning services have been canceled in some churches. Sunday School classes have been scratched in others. And in those cases where the weekly services have not been changed church members have made plans not to attend. Why? The reason most given for these accommodations and plans have been made is so families can have their time together on Christmas morning. After all, is there anything more important than family?
Now before you give up on me, thinking I’m going too far, I want to emphasize that I do believe that family time at Christmas is very important, and the opening of presents together around the Christmas tree is special. However, the real meaning of Christmas must not be gifts and such, but Christ Himself and the fact He came to earth to die for our sins. In my opinion this year presents a great opportunity for teaching our families that Christ comes first at Christmas. The old saying is true, our actions do speak louder than our words. While is is possible to miss Sunday morning services and still honor Christ, why not make a strong statement by our actions that Christ comes first? Why not change our regular Christmas routine than our regular worship? Gifts can be exchanged the night before or even after the family worships the Christ of Christmas together with fellow believers. If we are truly concerned about our families won’t we consider that we need to show by our actions that Christ comes first?
I know not every strong believer will agree on the above discussion. I bring it up to make a point. We as believers must be on guard concerning how secular thinking has influenced our practices. We also need to keep in mind that whatever we do, we must honor Christ and never let our hearts stray from the message of the Cross. All the images of Christmas, the winter wonderlands, Santa, even the Babe in the manger, may have a place in our hearts, but must not take away from the fact that Christmas would be meaningless if Christ had not gone to Calvary. This Christmas, remember He came as a Child, lived as a Man and suffered agony on the Cross to pay for our sins. He gave His all for us, shouldn’t we give our all to Him?