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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Christmas - More For than Against!

Annual Agony
Every year, around this time, I find myself in an internal battle, which after the years have passed, has still not been resolved: what should we do about Christmas? The fact that the battle resurfaces regularly is a sign that my heart is not settled on the issue, but the older I grow, I sense the balance of my mind is tilting more for than against. 

Christmas secular western style has virtually nothing to do with Christ or Christianity. It is simply an opportunity to indulge in excess, excess drink, excess food, excess pleasure, excess debauchery, you name it. Christians are called instead to be sober minded (1 Peter 5:8-9). I could easily live in a cave from December 24th-26th (with my family and brothers and sisters in Christ, of course, but away from the maddening crowd).

And yet, there are many many good things about this season of the year, and here are half a dozen.

First, it is an opportunity to visit friends and relatives. My wider family, for example, have an annual get together over Christmas, and it's great to touch base - in some cases the only time in that year.

Second, it's a chance to get some rest.... well kind of, anyway.

Third, it's a time for family traditions. Nothing wrong with family traditions. In our home, for example, there is a particular "Christmas" scent which we put on potpourri only in December! If we didn't roll it out we'd have a riot on our hands.

Fourth, Christians have the liberty to remember the birth of Jesus Christ in a special way. It's not proscribed, but what can be found against finding some time to remember the miracle of God made flesh, dwelling among us, identifying with our joys and sorrows ultimately to win us and save us from our sins.

Fifthly, thank God, the mid-winter celebration is not focused on some pagan myth, which would bring with it the debauchery that normally attends such pagan myths. Thank God that even today, nativity plays are still at the heart of most school Christmas celebrations. What a salting effect traditional Christmas has upon our near-pagan culture. Think of how more excessive the 'celebrations' would be without the influence of the Gospel in our land.

But sixthly, what a fantastic opportunity to share the Gospel with a lost world! Let's take this opportunity to invite people to Carol services, give them a free Gospel tract, and spend time with them, and pray that God may give them the precious gift of faith.

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