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And Just What is Christmas?

The holidays always resurrect memories of yesteryear.  The brightly lit trees.  The Christmas carols.  The Salvation Army volunteers standing
next to a black kettle, ringing their bells, asking for donations.  The Santa Claus at the mall with all of
the little ones being forced to sit on his knee.  Flashbulbs flash, and the picture invariably turns out to be
that of a child’s distorted look of horror.  Hints galore have been coming to Dad in heightened
frequency.  The kids are behaving
themselves lately.  The wife seems
a little more attentive.  The truth
is, they are fattening Dad up for the financial kill.  This is Christmas time. 
Christmas is many different things to many different
people.  To some, it may be a Christmas
tree with bright, shining lights and multi-colored rope draped over its
branches.  To others, it may be an
angel placed at the top of the Christmas tree or a medley of songs such as Silent
heard echoing through the halls of a shopping mall.  It may be a group of ear-muffed youth
standing in front of a nursing home singing “Joy to the World,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “Away in a Manger,” “Hark!
The Herald Angels Sing,” or “The
First Noel.
Christmas may be a Santa Claus sitting in a shopping center
flanked by a line of kids and their parents, blinded by the flash of the
camera.  To some it will be parents
waiting in an airport for sons and daughters or an expensive phone call from a
homesick college student away from home for the first time.  Christmas may find some of our boys
walking guard on foreign soil, dreaming of being home.  To some soldier it will be his last
Christmas on earth.  Literally
hundreds and hundreds of people will crowd the airports, bus depots, and train
stations, anxiously awaiting a glimpse of a loved one.
Christmas to some is brownies, banana puddin’, pecan pies,
banana puddin’, fruitcake, banana puddin’, coconut cake, banana puddin’,
pumpkin pie, banana puddin’, nuts, banana puddin’, turkey and dressing, and
banana puddin’!  Calories,
calories, calories, calories, calories! 
Christmas to some is a tour of lights in Marshall, Texas.  Christmas to some is a tour around the
neighborhood, gazing at all of the decorated homes.  Christmas to some is hanging stockings on a fireplace,
waiting for some mysterious stranger to fill them that night.  It is midnight before the big day. Mom
and Dad nervously try to find where slot A is so tab B can be connected.  Christmas is trying to remember if
Uncle George is 38” around the waist, or is it the neck?  Christmas is trying to remember a 17”
shirt size, or was that a shoe size? 
Christmas is a school play where a group of little devils plays little
angels for one night.  Christmas is
Uncle Joe giving you a tie you gave him last year.
Christmas to some is a reindeer, a sleigh, an earmuff, or a
runny nose.  Christmas to some is
not getting your mother-in-law what you would like to get her because it is
against the law.  Christmas to some
is tiptoeing to hide the presents while the kids peek around the corner and
whisper, “Boy, ain’t Dad dumb!” 
Christmas to some is a fireman remaking old toys to look like new
ones.  Christmas is a flat-busted
dad pondering his plight to the poorhouse.  Christmas is tearful loved ones waving good-bye.  Christmas to others is a tearful
telephone call that will last long enough to pay for Ma Bell’s new
Cadillac.  Christmas is a church
delivering Christmas baskets to the poor. 
Christmas is a lonely Christmas tree ignored after the big day
is over, born in gaiety and soon very alone in the backyard.  Christmas to others is a child throwing
the gift aside to play with the box. 
Christmas is a dad who plays with the electric train he so unselfishly
bought for his son to be born in three months.  Christmas is a husband admiring the tool set he bought for
his wife or trying out that new 30-30 for his wife to take deer hunting.  Christmas to some will be a cantata, a
play, or a wonderfully stuffed and baked turkey, set on a table fit for a
king.  Christmas to some will mean
caroling, a tree, gifts, a smile, a tear, and sacrifices.  To some it will mean a lonely heart,
while to others it will mean happy souls.
As you can see, Christmas is many different things to many
different people.  However, I think
we have missed the whole idea. 
Somehow, I think we have missed what God had in mind for Christmas.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  There is nothing wrong with exchanging
gifts.  There is nothing wrong with
a Christmas tree.  Some say if you
have a tree you are worshipping that tree…not me, fella – if anything, it will be
the things under the tree that I’m worshipping!  There is nothing wrong with shopping to buy a dress for your
wife for the first time this year. 
There is nothing wrong with exchanging presents at the office. There is
nothing wrong with having a get-together at your house. I know what you are
thinking, and you are absolutely right. 
Jesus’ coming to earth in a virgin birth was not in December.  It was probably more like April, but it
is still not bad to have a day to remember Christ’s birth.
Christmas is not a holy day.  According to Colossians chapter two, those days were nailed
to the cross.  According to
Galatians chapter four, there are no more holy days.  I like what Dr. Bob Jones Sr. said, “Every day is a holy
day.  Every place is a holy
place.  The kitchen sink is holy.
The work bench is holy.” Lenten season was nailed to the cross.  Good Friday was nailed to the
cross.  Easter Sunday was nailed to
the cross.  Ash Wednesday was
nailed to the cross.  Fat Friday
was nailed to the cross.  The
Sabbath was nailed to the cross. 
What is Christmas anyway? 
It is Christmas trees, but it is a lot more than that.  It is family reunions, but it is a lot
more than that.  It is shopping and
giving, but it is a lot more than that. 
It is mistletoe and holly, but it is a lot more than that. 
Maybe it is a specimen day to show how every day of the year
ought to be.  Maybe we should feed
the poor every week of the year instead of just one week of the year.  Maybe we should clothe the naked every
week of the year.  Maybe we should
help put a roof over a family every week of the year.  Maybe we are to live, give, share, and love every day
instead of just one day.  
Maybe we
should reach the poor in July as well as December.  Maybe we should feed the hungry in August as well as
December.  Maybe we should visit
the elderly in September as well as December.  The truth is, that poor family will still be poor after
Christmas is over.  The hungry
children will still be hungry after Christmas is over.  The elderly person in the nursing home
will still be lonely after Christmas is over.  Once Christmas is past, the little boys and girls will still
need shoes.  Once Christmas is past,
the lonely will still be lonely. 
The truth is, we ought to have Christmas 365 days a year.
Yes, it is holly. 
Yes, it is mistletoe.  Yes, it
is brightly lit trees.  Yes, it is
sharing.  Yes, it is loving.  Yes, it is shopping.  Yes, it is Silent Night and Joy
to the World
being sung in the mall. 
Yet somehow, every year Christians seem to miss the mark as to what
Christmas is really all about.
Christmas is about Jesus! 
May I make some suggestions for the holidays in order that the real
purpose of Christmas might be fulfilled? 
After all, it is Jesus’ birthday we are celebrating.  Why does everyone else get the
attention instead of the One Whose birthday we are celebrating?  If that were to happen to your child on
his birthday, you mothers would throw a fit.  It makes sense to me that we ought to be honoring Jesus and His
espoused bride, the local New Testament Church.
It is odd that with so many of God’s people going away for the
holidays, church attendance figures are down instead of up at Christmas.  Where do you go to church when you are
away from your home church?  It is
also puzzling to me how many Pastors shut down services for the holidays.  The Super Bowl seems to be more
important than preaching.  It is
amazing how little we think of Christ and His espoused bride when a holiday
rolls around.
Bus routes go unvisited. 
Bus drivers are absent. 
Sunday school classes go untaught. 
Ushers are not in their places. 
Pastors are out of town. 
Staff men cannot be found. 
Soul winning is shut down. 
Choir chairs are empty. 
Organists and pianists are gone with no one to fill their spot.  No wonder God is slow in answering our
prayers when we treat His Son in such a bad manner. 
If this is the time we observe the Lord’s
birth, then we ought to make sure our time and our treasure reflect that birth.
You can have a wonderful and joyful holiday without letting the festivities
hurt the Lord or His espoused bride. 

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