He was certainly correct: Many (perhaps most) in our culture are scampering down the broad way leading to destruction, while relatively few are taking the difficult way leading to eternal life.
The evidence is all around us. We have become a culture preoccupied by materialism and amusement (with “a-” meaning “not” and “muse”meaning “think”). Most people care only about being prosperous and busy busy busy to stomp out the boredom that would otherwise consume them. (I remember a day when my worst nightmare, as an atheist, was being stuck somewhere without a page-turning novel in hand.)
Here’s another piece of evidence, which our pastor called to our attention in a recent sermon. It’s the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) list of 2012's 10 most popular Christmas songs, apparently as measured by number of plays on the radio.
As this list makes clear, Christmas is no longer a celebration of the birth of the Savior of the world. It has instead become almost exclusively a celebration of materialism and entertainment:
- "Sleigh Ride"
- "Winter Wonderland"
- "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”
- "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
- "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"
- "Do You Hear What I Hear?"
- "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)"
- "Jingle Bell Rock"
- "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
- "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"
The only song on this list referring even remotely to Jesus Christ is #6, 1962’s “Do You Hear What I Hear?” And a good case could be made that it’s about the least reverent of all songs in its genre. It does not mention Jesus, nor His stated purpose of coming to earth to seek and save the lost.
In fact, it was written by a then-married couple wanting to promote peace during the Cuban missile crisis. Think about the last verse:
Said the king to the people everywhere,
"Listen to what I say!
Pray for peace, people, everywhere,
Listen to what I say!
The Child, the Child sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light,
He will bring us goodness and light."
Hmmmm. A king telling “people everywhere”about the Child? But Herod wanted that Child dead, and went to horrific lengths to try to achieve his goal.
“Pray for peace”? But in 1 Thessalonians 5, the apostle Paul warns, “For when they say, 'Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”
Maybe it’s time for Christians everywhere to focus on the eternal life that Jesus came to bring to all who repent and trust in Him – and to say “Bah humbug!” to the world’s take on this holiday.
After all, as the apostle John said in his first epistle, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”