For the last post in the 12 Days of Christmas Series, I wanted to talk about the meaning of Christmas, because that seems to be so clear, and yet so hazy for people. What am I talking about? As I said at the beginning, most Christians argue that Christmas is about Jesus—”Jesus is the reason for the season.” If you ask a Christian what the meaning of Christmas is, though, they don't always say Jesus.
I've heard Christians say that the meaning of Christmas was family; that it was about relaxing. I've heard them say "a good Christmas" and refer to "doing" Christmas or "putting on Christmas" for a child. Now don't get me wrong, spending time with family and relaxing are both great things, but they don't really have anything to do with Jesus' birth. Like the message in A Christmas Carol, people associate kindness and giving with the holiday, but when it really boils down to it, they forget all about Jesus. As I may have mentioned earlier, not a single person I spoke to on Christmas day mentioned Jesus. People said "Merry Christmas, did you get everything you wanted?" or "Merry Christmas, how's your family?" One person said "Merry Christmas, let's see what Santa brought." No one said "Merry Christmas, isn't it awesome that Jesus was born?" or "Merry Christmas, the Messiah is born!" If Jesus is the reason for the season, why is it that even those claiming this phrase are neglecting Jesus on this day?
The church I grew up in used to have the Christmas play on Christmas Eve. After I left home, they moved it to the Sunday before Christmas (which also places the celebration closer to those pagan holidays we discussed earlier). When I found out, I asked why they moved it and was given reasons such as "some people have to work" or "some people want to be with family." Well, some people work on Sunday (not to mention 90% of that church is retired)... Those traveling to family could go to church with their family... You see, the holy days that were actually mandated by God in the Old Testament, before Jesus fulfilled them, were also declared Sabbaths by God. The Israelites were not allowed to do work on those days, nor were they allowed to require others to do work. If Christmas were a holy day dictated by God, He'd expect you to be looking for a job that gave you Christmas Day off and the Christmas play would happen on Christmas Day. Yet, most of the people at my church hate the idea of the play on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve because they want to be home to wrap presents, make cookies for Santa, and place the hidden presents under the tree. They want to wake up and kneel under the tree to retrieve gifts rather than kneel at the altar to pray; to spend the day relishing in their gifts and feasting instead of relishing in Jesus and worshipping God. The meaning of Christmas is evident in their actions and it has nothing to with Jesus.
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 6:24 KJV
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