“Jesus is the Reason for the Season”
I love Christmas time because I know the real reason for the season. Now living in the small town I grew up in it deeply grieves me how much has changed from my childhood. Christmas in Galax used to be centered on the birth of Jesus. My family attended Hillcrest Baptist Church when I was a little girl, and I was an angel or Mary every year in our Christmas plays. I attended Oakland Elementary School, and our Christmas plays were the same as the church plays. We sang the traditional carols proclaiming the birth of a Savior for all. The Christmas Parade was a big deal, and I remember most of the churches having floats that uplifted the birth of Jesus.
I now search for any indication Galax knows the true meaning of Christmas and any evidence is hard to find. This morning as I was leaving the Parks and Recreation Department, which is well decorated for Christmas, I saw nothing about the real reason for the season. I am bombarded with Santa Claus and snowmen everywhere I go. I have nothing against Santa Claus, and I dearly love snowmen, but I love so much more the One who created both.
How sad to watch parents teach their children Christmas is nothing more than gifts of stuff. We better be good if we want Santa Claus to bring us presents, because after all it is all about us, and what makes you happy in life is more stuff…really? And we wonder why we have this generation of “entitlement.”
I left Galax this morning apologizing to a Holy God who sent His only Son to come to earth and live among men. Christmas is a true story whether you choose to believe it or not. Read the event in any of the gospels, and then tell me you really think the story of Santa Claus and his reindeers trumps a love letter written to the world by God Himself. It was written as the ultimate sacrifice. He asked Jesus to come to purchase us through His blood for the Father. The Father wanted us to be restored to Him who is holy, and there was only one way, through the blood of His Son, Jesus. Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for you were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” God was all inclusive. This is the good news of the birth of our Savior.
I watch parents truly insult the intelligence of their children by filling them with temporal pleasures and believing what makes a good parent and happy child is making everything about them. That simply is not true. Jesus gave us a much better way. He said it is more blessed to give than to receive. What would happen to our future generations if we started teaching our children the joy of giving rather than receiving? What if we followed the teachings of Christ and spent time teaching it to our children at Christmas rather than making a list to Santa Claus for their wants and needs? Is this really the heritage we want to leave our children?
Eventually they will learn as I did Santa Claus isn’t real. The reindeers do not fly and he doesn’t come down the chimney. I remember the day I found out it was all a lie. I was in the first grade. I suppose everyone knew by then but me. We were sitting at the lunch table, and all my classmates were laughing and telling the color hair their Santa had. As I listened I realized they were talking about their parents! No one said Santa had white hair! I sat there devastated with my rose colored glasses shattered for the first time. I certainly didn’t let anyone know. I spent the rest of the afternoon lost in my own world of disappointment and hurt. I was hurt that my mama and daddy had lied to me. I then wondered what else they had said wasn’t true. I wondered if Jesus was pretend too. Not all children react the same way to the revelation that eventually comes in life that Santa isn’t real, but I am sharing with you my experience.
Christmas was such a joyous time of year for my family. As a mother I worked hard to always be truthful with my children. At our home Christ was the center of Christmas. We always came here to Galax the Saturday before Christmas, and for many years did the Christmas play for Glenwood Methodist Church where my mother and father attended. They did not have enough children for a Christmas play so it was our joy to get all of our family together and do a play uplifting the true meaning of Christmas.
When we moved to the Raleigh area, living in Holly Springs, I gathered my children, ages 2, 4, 6, and 8 to attend a Christmas parade. I was so excited as it had been several years since I had been to one. I watched with anticipation for Christmas floats with manger scenes, and bands playing the traditional carols like I had always enjoyed. To my shock not one float represented the true meaning of Christmas! There was nothing about Jesus. My heart sank as I apologized to my children for taking them to such a meaningless event. I went home making a vow to God and my children that the following Christmas there would be a float for our Savior.
The next year we did our own float representing Collins Grove Baptist Church. The pastor of this church was our neighbor, and they needed a float. It had a cross with a crown at one end and the manger scene at the other. Our black lab, Duke, was one of the angels complete with a halo he kept on throughout the parade. The banner around the bottom of the float proclaimed: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS! My brother and sister in law joined us with their children in our endeavor, and we walked behind the float passing out a tract I had written on the gift God gave us all, His Son. People literally were reaching for them, and we ran out quickly. We received applause as our float went by, and I realized how hungry the world was for the true meaning of Christmas.
The following week I was standing in line at the grocery store, and I happened to glance at the magazine racks. There on the front page of the local paper was a picture of our float with a caption: “The True Meaning of Christmas.” I stood there and wept. God so honored the desire of my heart which was to bring back the true meaning of Christmas for His name’s sake and for my children. He is so worthy!
May I challenge you this year to put Christ back in Christmas. Don’t rob your children of the truth of Christmas. Teach them the beautiful, meaningful, lyrics to the traditional Christmas carols. If you choose to do Santa at least offer them the true story of Saint Nicholas which is worthy of your children’s time. May I implore you to add some depth to your children’s lives, and offer them something eternal rather than the passing pleasures of this world? My prayer for you and yours is that we can celebrate together a true story better than any fairytale ever created by man:
Isaiah 9:6 “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
We are in desperate need as a nation and as families for the true message of Christmas. Please do not insult your children’s intelligence this year; instead give them the most beautiful, fascinating, story ever told, the birth and life of Jesus. Tell them why He came, why the Father loved us so much He asked the Son to die for us. Tell them how this Son loved His Father so much He became obedient to the point of death. Tell them how He now sits at the right hand of the Father on the throne, and He will be returning to take us home to heaven to truly live happily ever after. My children understood it. Yours will too. As they grow up it will come to mean a lot more than the story of Santa Claus and reindeers.
I pray this year we will all unwrap the gift God the Father sent to us all, a Savior, Jesus Christ. O come let us adore Him!