Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Christmas Challenge: The forgotten Christ

Christmas treeWe’re a family that enjoys Christmas. Every year we decorate the house with Christmas trees, tinsel, flashing lights, candles and all kinds of ornaments. This year is no different. The same can be said of my wife’s family. They also love decorating their houses. The only difference last year and this year--in our own home--is that I did not help. I had to work on the day the house was to be decorated.
Last year, at the end of my working day I walked into the decorated house and it hit my like a ton of bricks. Where is Christ? Yeah, I know He lives within my heart. I am saved by grace alone through faith alone in the work of Christ alone! Yet, with regard to the decorations in the house, where was He? There is a Santa on the wall unit... Santas on the wall unit! Santas on the Christmas tree...Santas everywhere! But... where is Christ? Is this not the season we celebrate the birth of Christ? Then how is it that we decorate our houses with an incremental amount of Santas, tinsel, lights and other trinkets every year, but Christ is hardly anywhere to be found? Sure, we do have a scene of the birth of Christ; however, it is tiny and lonely in comparison to the rest of the Christmas garb! In fact, I do not even know where to buy any Christ related Christmas decorations!
Have we forgotten Christ? Contrary to the cry from many Christians to put Christ "back" into Christmas, I contend that many of these same Christians forget Christ every Christmas! Sure, the world has taken Christ out of Christmas and made it merely another holiday to celebrate in drunken festivities. But, so what? If the world does not know how to put Christ "back" into Christmas, who can blame them? They are without Christ, remember? How can we ask the world to put Christ "back" into Christmas if they do not know Christ? They are a lost and dying world! How do you expect them to celebrate Christmas? If your answer here is anything else but worldly revelry, then you misunderstand the human condition. Read my article on the condition of the world called The World as it is: Psychobabble? The world, or any government for that matter, is not in the business of putting Christ "back" into anything! The further they can get from Christ, the happier they will be, unless, of course, Christ steps into their individual lives and brings them to repentance through his kindness.
So, as Christians, whom do we have to blame but ourselves? We are the ones who have taken Christ out of Christmas, and replaced Him with all kinds of Christless Christmas paraphernalia. Before you point fingers at the world, shouting to put Christ "back" into Christmas, perhaps you should stand in front of a mirror pointing and shouting at yourself! You are to blame if you find to little of Christ in Christmas! I am to blame if I cannot find Christ in our home during the Christmas season!
SantaYeah, yeah, you claim to create a joyful environment of memories for your children to remember for years to come, but as a Christian you owe it to yourself and your children to create memories of Christ over Christmas time! It is easy to say that our children know that Christmas is about Christ and not Santa, but do you know it? Do they act like they know it? Prove it by showing Christ in your home a bit more than you do Santa! (I am preaching to myself and my own family here!)
We have created idols of Christmas trappings and we have not realised it yet! If you believe that these Christmas accessories are not idols in your life...(think before you answer this challenge), then remove all your Christmas trinkets and replace them with things that will remind you directly of Christ! Do not come up with a knee-jerk reaction here! They are invariably wrong. It is time for us as Christians to think about this challenge for longer than it takes us to put up all the Christmas baggage in our houses. This is as much a challenge to me and my house as it is to you!
It is okay to decorate your house with Christmas goodies, but when these goodies do not show the King of the celebration, then do not claim that you celebrate it for the King. Christ has sole command of your heart, or so He should. Now prove it!
I can see why so many Christians are questioning the celebration of Christmas and are now starting to remove all Christmas furnishings from their homes in order to restore Christ to Christmas. Idols are funny things, are they not? They creep into our lives, and somehow they create this wholesome view for us to see. Next, we start seeing how good it is to have them, since they are not idols. So, by the time we are confronted with a claim that we harbour idols in our lives, we quickly jump in to defend ourselves and our idols denying their idolness. If idols were that ugly and gruesome, then they would never find a place in our lives. However, in the western world, they have recreated themselves into very acceptable images, like Christmas paraphernalia. Many of these idols have changed themselves to look acceptable to the point of even being wholesome. So, as Christians we jump into the fray to create an environment of wholesomeness for our children, but in the event we have created an environment of idol worship, distracting our hearts and eyes from Christ, the "reason" for the "season!" We need to deal with idols as king Josiah did (2 Ki 23:4-20). They need to be destroyed! Christ will not share His place with anyone or anything! He is absolutely jealous of your heart!
So, if you want Christ back in Christmas, then you put Him back! The world will not do it. Why should they? They do not belong to Christ, but you do!
It is your move. Make the right one!
Just thinking...

1 comment:

Flo said...

I agree. It just struck me this Christmas how little we pay attention to the birth of Christ and the gargantuan amount of attention in comparison which we pay to ourselves this season.

Blessed Christmas!

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