Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

I spent all year waiting for Christmas so I could write this essay.
I was going to write about all the things that are wrong with the celebration of Christmas. I was going to start with the very date that we celebrate Christmas on. I'm sure everyone who has done the slightest bit of research knows that Jesus Christ was not born on December 25th. Lately I've found it fascinating that the Bible gives the exact date that Noah left the Ark. It spells out in advance the exact date that Jesus entered into the Temple on the back of a donkey's colt. Of course it gives the date He was crucified and the date He was raised. (we don't actually celebrate those occurrences on the dates that the Bible gives, but that is an argument for another day.) Yet, the Bible does not tell us the day He was born. A piece of information I find conspicuous in its absence. I read an essay recently that makes a pretty good argument that He was born at the Feast of Tabernacles. I'm not going to try to make that argument, but it is pretty clear he wasn't born on the date Christians celebrate His birth.
The ways we celebrate Christmas started bothering me years ago. I'll admit right up front that it was the money involved that first started getting under my skin. I didn't want to come across like Ebeneezer Scrooge but I couldn't understand how the proper celebration of Christmas meant you were going to spend so much money that you either had to start laying away in August or you were going to be in debt until April. Or both. I could see the pressures this put people under; the pressure it was putting on me, and I decided that I wasn't going to participate anymore. I told everybody that I wasn't going to buy them anything for Christmas and for them to not buy anything for me either. That didn't work, by the way. My mother is going to buy me a present whether I like it or not. So is my son. I get cards from all over the place, and well I guess I can't just drop out of the whole thing. Like I said: I don't want to be a jerk. But the expense just bugs the Dickens out of me. I quit smoking because I didn't want to spend a dollar a pack on cigarettes. Now, they're over $5.00 a pack. I quit doing Christmas when the commercials you saw the most was for Norelco razors. Now, the commercials are all Lexus cars and diamonds. Are you kidding me?
Then there's the lights. I don't know why people feel compelled to triple their light bill for the month of December, but I must admit I really like seeing the all the lights. I'm just too cheap and lazy to put any up myself.
I don't like Christmas trees either. Putting them up used to be fun. Taking them back down never was. The real trees made the house smell nice, but you ended up with pine needles everywhere – not to mention the attendant fire hazard. Then I ran into Jeremiah, Chapter 10, and I now have Scriptural justification for not having a tree. I even became offended by Christmas trees, interpreting that chapter as forbidding them. I found out not everybody sees it that way. It seems there are a lot of things that people I look up to as Christians don't see the way I do.

However, this year I've suddenly become very aware of the importance of Christmas. It becomes clearer to me as I see all the forces so determined to eliminate it. It started with Xmas. I didn't think anything of it at first. It just seemed like an abbreviation. When people started screaming to “Put Christ back in Christmas” my first thought was that Christ never was really in Christmas. That goes back to my argument about the date and all the other problems I have with how we celebrate Christmas. I mean, don't even get me started on Santa Claus. What in the world does a fat dude flying around in a sleigh have to do with Jesus, for crying out loud?
Then they started with “Happy Holidays”. Still, I was not concerned. After all, the holiday season contains Christmas, New Years, Hanukkah...heck, there was a time when I considered the holiday season to run from Thanksgiving to the Super Bowl. Of course, that was before they started playing the Super Bowl in February. "Happy Holidays" to me sounded like encouragement to do what I thought was necessary to stay happy for two months of cold weather and reduced sunlight. Things that faith in Jesus have allowed me to see the error in and consequently to free myself from. That, too is a whole different discussion.
Now we have stores that refuse to have the word Christmas displayed anywhere, though they still expect you to spend an insane amount of money there in celebration of a Holiday that they won't name. We have schools forbidding Christmas from being uttered in their hallways, let alone being displayed anywhere on the property. Lawsuits are being filed to remove nativity scenes from parks and court houses, and now I've noticed Leftist groups doing everything they can to distort the nativity displays that remain. Disgusting things mostly that I won't even describe here. The War on Christmas can no longer be ignored.
So, given the current political environment where businesses are being targeted just because it is known that they are owned and operated by Christians, I figure that this constant and determined effort to eliminate Christmas serves, at least in my mind, as an endorsement of the importance of Christmas.
Someone said you can judge the character of a man by the strength and power of his enemies. In kind of a warped sense, I think that applies here.
My problems with the date notwithstanding, it seems to me now it's pretty important to have a day to not only remember that Jesus Christ was born, but to proclaim it far and wide as a testimony to the rest of the world. The nativity scenes, if nothing else, will hopefully cause people to wonder what it is all about; and if they wonder, they might ask. If they ask, they might learn. Once they learn they might decide to believe, and thus be saved. That's why He was born in the first place. Because God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, so that anyone who believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life.
Therefore,I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very MERRY CHRISTMAS.
...I still don't have a tree. ...I still didn't buy you anything. 

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