If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, I’ll bet you’ve thought about this phenomenon a lot over the years. And I’ll bet you’ve pondered many of the things I’ve pondered.
For instance, what’s with those who wield these phrases with cheerful abandon while blanching at the mention of the word “Christmas”? What do they think “the holidays” were designed to honor? How did this celebration come about? What’s behind this mad few weeks of turning houses into lighting displays? Of spending a small fortune on gifts and squandering precious time wrapping and unwrapping them? On cooking elaborate meals and serving them on holly-festooned dishes so that all can gorge themselves while watching a football game?
(Are you kidding me? The NFL inserts itself into Christmas Day? Well, there’s a new “tradition” for you: Aaron Rodgers steals the limelight from Jesus Christ.)
I wonder, too, about the annual festivities of other pagan cultures. What do they celebrate? How? And most importantly, why?
And I wonder if today’s children, in our culture or theirs, ever ask such questions.
“Mama, what’s it all about? Why do we do this every year? Why do we decorate and give gifts and get together with our relatives once a year?”
If so, what does a thoroughly modern parent say?
“Because Santa Claus is coming to town.”
“Well, dearest, life is hard for grownups and we all need to take a break to spread some happiness and cheer once in a while. And the presents? Why, that’s just something nice that good people do for each other, gifting each other things that we’d never buy for ourselves – that would be too selfish. So I guess you could say it’s a celebration of human kindness.”
“It’s based on an ancient story, sweetheart, something about a baby god born in a stable in Palestine to save the world. It used to be called Christmas, and our celebrations today evolved from that. Of course, we don’t believe any of this anymore – science has proven it all a myth. But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, we always say, so we’ve kept the best parts of the season.”
Or maybe even this:
“Later, kid – the Packers are about to score.”
And that, my friends, is where we are today in these United States, a godless people “professing to be wise, but becoming fools,” to paraphrase Romans 1:22. It’s horribly sad, and unimaginably tragic for those who’ve joined the party forevermore.
But for genuine Christians, it’s just one more piece of evidence that the Bible is true from cover to cover.
That for us, thanks to that “baby God,” the best is yet to come for all eternity.
It’s also a reminder that we’ve really got our work cut out for us, if we are to “go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,” as Jesus is quoted as saying in Matthew 28:19 – remembering that those “nations” start with the lost people we’ll be spending time with over the next week or two.
Asking each one about the meaning of the season might be a fruitful way to break the ice.