A group of people was sitting in the waiting area of a popular restaurant. They were hungry, eager for a table, and silently stealing glances at each other. Then in came yet another family with a small child. As the man went to register his name, the child standing in the middle of this group began looking at their hungry faces. He looked at one and then another and with a smile said, “Hi! I’m hungry. Are you? Hi! I’m hungry. Are you? Hi! I’m hungry. Are you?” And one by one the faces began to smile back at the child and then at one another until the whole atmosphere was changed. (A modern story based on Matthew 18:1-4).
Heaven is like a child. They possess a natural trust, an unconditional love, a desire to see the best in others. That’s one reason we warn them about strangers. Satan has been hard at work to wipe out this child-like love just like he tried to destroy Christ as soon as He was born (Matthew 2:13). Jesus came to restore this innocent love in every human being, which is why He came to our world as a babe 2,000 years ago. Discovering this gift of God’s love brings us to the true meaning of Christmas.
While the December date for Christmas is based on a pagan festival commemorating sun worship, it is recognized, even by those who hate it as a day to remember Christ. This is evidenced by the efforts made by some of the more extreme secularists to prohibit any and all aspects of Christmas from the public forum, including the Christmas tree, manger scenes and even the “Merry Christmas” greeting.
Thousands of dollars are needlessly spent every year in gifts to each other. Those means are lost to God, lost to His cause.
Christians concerned about the pagan influences surrounding Christmas may want to consider a different approach. As the twenty-fifth of December is observed to commemorate the birth of Christ, as the children have been instructed by precept and example that this was indeed a day of gladness and rejoicing, you will find it a difficult matter to pass over this period without giving it some attention. It can be made to serve a very good purpose. Some Christmas traditions find a basis in Scripture—gift giving for example. The wise men brought their gifts to the baby Jesus at His birth (Matthew 2:1, 11). There are a variety of ways that we, in turn, can bring Jesus our gifts of love:
- By giving gifts to support Christ’s work here on earth.
- By helping those in need (Matthew 25:40).
- By giving gifts to family and friends as a reminder of our love for them.
A desire to give gifts may be turned into pure and holy channels and made to result in good to our fellow men by supplying ministry’s with needed funds to reach others in the great, grand work for which Christ came into our world. In addition, it is pleasant to receive a gift, however small, from those we love. It is an assurance that we are not forgotten, and seems to bind us to them a little closer.
Another suggestion: let the congregations present to God Christmas trees in every church; and then let them hang on its limbs the fruits of beneficence and gratitude—offerings coming from willing hearts and hands, fruits that God will accept as an expression of our faith and our great love to Him for the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Thousands of dollars are needlessly spent every year in gifts to each other. Those means are lost to God, lost to His cause. It pleases the vanity, encourages pride, creates all kinds of dissatisfaction, murmuring, and complaints, because perhaps the gifts are not just what was desired, not of the high value wanted or expected. Christmas is not observed as its name implies it should be.
We could ignore Christmas altogether. I have no criticism for those who do, but we should not conclude that all must ignore Christmas. We can allow Christmas to be a special time of outreach to family, friends and the world as well as a time to build up the cause of Christ by our generous gifts of love to His church. Follow no longer the world’s customs. Make a break here, and see if this Christmas cannot show thousands of dollars flowing into the treasury, that God’s storehouse may not be empty.
Yes, Christmas, the day observed professedly in honor of the birthday of Christ, has been made a most effective means of turning the mind away from Christ, away from His glory. If Christmas is kept at all, it should be kept in a way that will be in harmony with its significance. Like the wise men from the East of yesterday, let’s find Jesus in Christmas today.
James has spent more than 30 years preaching the gospel around the world in revival seminars and evangelistic meetings. He and his wife Risë have two adult children, Jeiel and Kierra.