Altar Call Ė Opelika-Auburn News
December 23, 2007
Letís celebrate the things that are right about Christmas
I am weary of the complaints some Christians are always making about the
commercialization of Christmas. The
††††††††† There is nothing wrong with buying and selling gifts. If we spend more than we can afford, that is wrong. Going in debt to buy stuff is not good. But sharing gifts with loved ones and friends is a good thing. Christmas motivates people to give. For a few weeks most of us are less selfish than at any other time of the year. Thatís good.
††††††††† There is nothing wrong about making children happy. Children love Christmas. The anticipation of a nice gift under the tree stimulates the mind and the spirit. To open a gift given by someone who loves you makes you glad to be alive. Thatís good.
††††††††† The stores sell more stuff in December than any other month of the year. So business owners are happy. I see nothing wrong with business making a profit on the sale of goods. Christmas stimulates economic growth. That should make us all happy. If, of course, we go in debt buying more than we can afford, then we exchange our happiness for the pain of excessive debt. The secret is to spend wisely, not extravagantly. †
††††††††† Some holy souls think Santa Claus should be banned from Christmas. It is, after all, the birth of Jesus, not pagan old Santa. Well, wait a minute. Santa Claus was important to me before I met Jesus. I loved the old fellow and I still do. He was good to me as a child. Santa made Christmas fun by coming down that chimney and leaving gifts that made my eyes dance with delight on Christmas morning.
††††††††† We donít have to kick Santa out to honor Jesus at Christmas. Untold millions of children receive gifts at Christmas because people feel compelled to ďbe SantaĒ to neglected children. In a strange way Santa and Jesus seem to be partners in stirring people to help others at Christmastime. That is not bad.
††††††††† Children like to go caroling at Christmas. They donít go to nursing homes and sing carols in May or August. They do love to do it at Christmas. And lonely seniors at nursing homes will tell you they love to have them come sing carols for them. Thatís a fine thing about Christmas.
††††††††† Christmas is a time for parties. Already we have been to several parties and enjoyed them all. Parties are fine. You can enjoy fellowship and good food with friends in a lovely setting. Thatís good. If you eat too much or get drunk at these parties, thatís bad. Even Santa would tell you that (not to mention Jesus).
††††††††† Instead of complaining about commercialization, pastors should admit they love Christmas. People give more generously in December than any other month of the year. Without the offerings received in December most churches would never meet their budgets. Believe me, thatís good.
††††††††† People love to come home for Christmas. Thatís better than good; that is wonderful. When we lived out of state for several years, we always made our way home for Christmas. Now that we are old, our hearts are filled with joy when our children and grandchildren come home for Christmas. That is actually one of the best gifts of Christmas Ė to have our family home to share a meal, exchange gifts, and love on one another.
††††††††† Of course Christmas is about a baby named Jesus who was born to save us from our sins. Christmas is about grace and grace is about giving. God gave. He gave us his Son. That gift motivates us to give Ė and to love. Yes, this is what we preachers call the deeper meaning of Christmas. But we donít have to become so spiritual that we spoil Christmas for the children.
††††††††† Commercialization should not prevent us from celebrating the spiritual reality of Christmas. Santa Claus is no threat to the Savior of the world.† Jesus is so much bigger than Santa that I can imagine Jesus saying, ďSanta, come sit on my knee and let me thank you for all the joy you have brought to children for centuries.Ē Canít you see the smile that would bring to the face of Jolly Old Saint Nicholas?
††††††††† Hey, loosen up guys. Letís relax and enjoy what is right about Christmas. †
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† + + +