I LOVE Christmas! I am not a very exuberant person by nature, not naturally happy and light-hearted, but give me a vision and some understanding and I come alive. My Holy-Holiday-Calling is to remember and release a spirit of rejoicing in myself and in others as we make Jesus Christ and worshipping Him central to our raucous Christmas celebrating!
There are two reasons it is important to know and understand the symbols (the stuff) of Christmas:
- Because they are beautiful, visual touch points for teaching our children about our faith in Jesus Christ. Every year as we decorate with bows, and holly and stars and Nativity sets, we explain it, (here a little, there a little, line upon line, precept upon precept) and we are sowing spiritual seeds of faith. Christmas then becomes the accumulation of learning as year follows year and season follows season. When they are grown, the Truth is there – either for them to joyfully impart to their own children, or no matter how far thy may seem to wander from the Lord – as an inescapable testimony, the Truth they will see all around every Christmas season.
- And because, through the symbols of the season, we can impact others with the truth. For when we have a correct understanding, we’re gently able to impart spiritual truth to others. For many of our co-workers and neighbors are celebrating Christmas not even aware of the depth of what they do! Even so – they are acknowledging a Savior! Christmas=Christ’s mass=the worship of Jesus Christ. So we need understanding so we’re not sheepish about what Christmas has become. We should be the most joyous celebrants of all and welcome and use every symbol and facet of the season to give a reason for our hope and to set apart Christ as Lord – the Worthy One.
I believe in the symbols! In each one there is lodged a deep and spiritual truth. Religious tradition doesn’t impose these truths. The truth exist and the symbols (the lights, the decorations, the songs, the trees and wreaths) have become the way we express Christianity through our decorating and celebrating and rich traditions! The things we do when we celebrate bring us understanding.
God loves a good party.
God loves celebrations! He, in fact, set forth many celebrations in the Bible. The one in Exodus 12 for the First Passover was His invitation as a way to teach the children. Joshua 4 tells of celebrations also meant to teach the children of the faithfulness of God. The gathering in Ezra says the celebrating was so loud (over several days) that is was heard far away.
So, I think it is OK with God to celebrate Christmas! I don’t think God would be displeased with us if we just listened to Bing Crosby sing about Rudolph and we made cookies and put lights on our house – just for a break, a nice celebration. But it is so much more dynamic than that when we understand and teach and share the symbols because of the rich and powerful spiritual meanings.
I plan to keep on exposing my children and their children and the people around me to the raw reality of my unhampered happiness. I plan to sing “Silent Night” when I stand in a long line at the bank. I plan to worship Jesus at the foot of my Christmas tree, an altar of peace and prayer in this harried season. I plan to say to every clerk and neighbor and service person I meet: Merry Christmas! Because when I do, whether they consciously understand the significance in the declaration, I have just prophesied into the atmosphere around me: Merry Christmas! Happy worship of the Christ! Jesus Christ, we worship You! And I pray that pierces their heart in the deep places in some way.
Yes, this is our season as Christ-followers. Because it is His and we can openly declare His glory in these few short days like at no other time of the year.
Happily hallowing the Name above all Names even and especially at Christmastime…Jeanie
1 Peter 3.15 “But in your hearts set apart Christ as lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope you have.”