The Christmas season is well upon us, and along with it, its habitual flavours of commercialism, materialism, and yes, paganism. In fact, although Christmas is supposed to be the celebration of the greatest birth ever, it is pretty difficult to even find Christ in Christmas anymore.
In recent years, we’ve been told we’re not supposed to be saying “Merry Christmas” because it isn’t “politically correct”. Some schools have exchanged “Christmas” concerts/plays/displays for ones that represent the beliefs of a variety of world religions, and some stores have been known to put Christmas trees upside down, all in an effort to make Christmas less of a religious holiday and more of a secular one. I have to sit back and scratch my head in wonder at this. With Santas on every corner, reindeer in every yard, elves on ever shelf, and ten times as many front-lawn sleighs as manger scenes, it would seems that Christ has already been removed from Christmas!
This leads many Christians to begin to ask themselves whether or not we should even be celebrating Christ’s birth at Christmas. After all, we don’t even know when Jesus was actually born, and the only thing we can be completely sure of is that it was likely not December 25th; and with all the paganism and commercialism attached to Christmas, it makes it hard to even remember this is supposed to be a birthday celebration.
You may be thinking at this point that I’m saying we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas. This, actually, is not the point of this devotional. I believe that whether or not you, as a Christian, celebrate Christmas, is an individual decision, made between you and God. The question, then, is not whether we should be celebrating Christmas, but rather, should we celebrate Christ’s birth?
As we consider this question, I’d like to take a moment to remind each of us what Jesus’ birth truly means. Jesus left the glories of Heaven to come to this Earth. He lived a completely unappreciated life; He was ridiculed and tortured, and He died a horrendous death, all so that we could be saved, so that our sins could be forgiven, to reconcile us to the Father. Consider the following text:
“Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” (Phil. 2:7-8 NLT)
This makes His birth the most important one in history; and if we make the effort to celebrate our own birthdays, it stand to reason that His birth should be celebrated all the more!
The question, then, isn’t “should” we be celebrating Christ’s Birth, but “when”?
This past year, we were away on my actual birthday, and as a result, it came and went without any hoopla. In fact, we had some complications on the road, which resulted in the day being in the “less pleasant” category, and we got to our campground too late to go for my promised dinner out. In all, I have to admit I felt a bit “left-out” on my birthday.
But I haven’t really told you the “rest” of the story…
Three weeks before my birthday, my husband and oldest son gave me some wonderful birthday presents. The day after my actual birthday, my husband bought me ice cream and took me out to dinner. My mother had given me a beautiful birthday card just before we set out on our trip, and though my youngest son texted me a brief “happy birthday” message on my actual birthday, his card didn’t arrive until about a week later, and his gift another two weeks after that. I also received some wonderful, warm birthday wishes from my e-friends around the world, which began arriving the day before my birthday and kept trickling in for the next six days. You can believe me when I say that although my actual birthday was not celebrated at all, I felt a lot more special with the birthday celebration being spread out over a couple of months than any of the “one-day-of-the-year” celebrations of the past.
Many ardent Christians do try to keep Jesus in Christmas, making great efforts to make Christmas a celebration of His birth; and I believe that many succeed and are to be commended for their efforts. However, with the season so filled with stress and diluted with worldliness, I have to wonder if maybe Jesus often feels at Christmas a little like I did on my actual birthday this year: Left out! Especially since we usually go back to not even thinking about His birth and wonderful gift to mankind once Christmas is over. Wouldn’t it make Him happy if we were to acknowledge this greatest of births at other times of the year as well? Wouldn’t it make Him feel even more special if His birthday celebration were to be stretched out, not just over a couple of months like mine was this year, but over the entire year? Wouldn’t this serve to better show Him how much we truly appreciate the ultimate sacrifice that He made so that we might have life eternal?
Think about it!
But wait. We can’t have Christmas every day. If we are to celebrate Jesus’ birth daily, just what should this celebration look like?
Join us on Saturday for “Christ’s Birth: A Call for Celebration! Part 2: A Birthday Fit for a King”
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Christ’s Birth: A Call for Celebration!” mini-series, please click here.)