One of the pastors at my church recently said
that this must be the era of inflatable lawn ornaments. As I was jogging
through my neighbourhood in rural Canada that same evening, it occurred
to me that he must be right. So many lawns now display inflatable
snowmen, Santas, penguins, sleighs …
But are there any inflatable manger scenes?
In fact, are there any manger scenes at all?
Okay, yes, there was one or two, but you almost can't see them amidst all of the reindeer and candy canes and trains.
So where has the real reason for Christmas gone? Has it become so covered up with pagan symbolism and commercialism that we can't even find it anymore?
I was praying about this as I was running that night. To tell the truth, it made me more than a little angry that the devil had succeeded so completely in making us lose the true meaning of Christmas! And I tried to express my indignant ire to God. After all, He would be even angrier than I about how His birthday is being covered up with worldliness!
Or would He …?
I was in for a surprise, for what I sensed from God wasn't anger at all. Great sadness yes, that the world would honor Santa over Jesus. But what I was sensing was something completely different from anything I had ever expected! I was sensing that God isn't even worried about the worldiness that has become associated with His birthday!
But then, He knew it advance, didn't He? He knew that Santa would try to take His place at Christmas time!
Why, God? Why didn't You do something to stop it?
That's when I heard God's voice, loud and clear: "Because, My child, I'm not afraid of a little competition!"
Wow. What a powerful answer! And it made total sense! Why should the God of the Universe get upset by a little competition? The only ones who need to worry about competition are the ones who may not win, and God has ALREADY won!
Suddenly it became clear why the devil tries so hard to push Jesus out of Christmas! He IS afraid of the competition! And rightfully so, because he's already LOST!
With this in mind, I began seeing the numerous Christmas decorations a little differently. I saw the houses lit up with white lights, and I thought, "Jesus is the light of the world!" Then I saw the houses lit up with colored lights, and I thought, "Jesus brings color to our lives!"
The candy canes caught my attention next. They are just upside down "J"s, "J" for Jesus. And they look like a shepherd's crook, reminding us that Jesus is our great Shepherd. And their color? Red reminds us of the blood Jesus shed for us, and the white reminds us that God now sees us as pure, because of Jesus' sacrifice!
What about the reindeer and penguins, the icicles and snowflakes, the trees and the mistletoe? Jesus is the Lord of creation! And the sleighs and trains? He doesn't need our pitiful transportation devices! These are just symbols that remind us of how unpowerful Santa really is!
And then there's the Santas. Yup. They stand in almost every yard as a stout reminder that Jesus isn't afraid of competition! He's already won the battle!
This year at Christmas time, I would like to challenge each of you to examine all of the lawn decorations you pass in the streets of your cities and towns. Let God speak to you from each of them, let Him show you that Jesus truly is bigger than our worldliness and commercialism! He can still speak to us of His birth out of every single pagan symbol of Christmas that we see, and as a result, walking down any street lit up for Christmas can, if we let it, be an avenue of light to lead us closer to the One whose birthday we celebrate!
"But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet." (1 Cor 15:20-NKJV)
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org, with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org.