We probably do not think much about there being a controversy surrounding Christmas. There are splinter groups who believe that Christmas is everything from over-commercialized to a pagan holiday that will send you straight to the bowels of Hell. This turns into a fairly heady topic on religious forums around this time of the year; sometimes before! So what are we to make of this holiday called Christmas? Is it okay to celebrate it? It is my personal opinion there is not one iota of an issue with Christmas for a multitude of reasons. On Christmas day, families get together that often have not laid eyes on one another in a long time, churches are visited by people who perhaps have not been to church in a while, the name of Christ is most certainly exalted in Christmas hymns, people are more relaxed, and it is just good plain fun!
Some of my earliest memories are Christmas get-togethers with family, family that is now in large part gone on. It was not about seeing Christmas decorations, nor talking about Santa Claus; it was seeing family that you had not seen in a long time. My dad is from a large family, family that eventually spread out all the way from Illinois to Memphis. Some families obviously have spread out even further than that due to careers or other personal choies. That makes for a high improbability of seeing one another too much during the year. Christmas is a time that many employers, if not most, allow their employees to have a day off, giving them time to travel and see one another. It would be close to a statistical impossibility for everyone to meet on some random date such as June 22; the hassle of everyone trying to get off would be a nightmare! With few exceptions, most people are off work, allowing them to plan a get-together on that day. Does not the Bible talk about family being of the utmost importance? What can be so wrong about a time that everyone can get together and fellowship?
In our rushed society, how many people make time for church anymore? Although I am one of the types that “if the door is open I will be there,” I realize that many are not. I am certainly not about to criticize someone for not attending; that is between God and them. It could be that their work schedule is so crazy that they are rarely off when the church doors are open; perhaps they are so frazzled after putting in a 40, 50 or 60 hour work week that they need time to recuperate. Even the Bible tells us that God rested after the work of creation. Going back to what I pointed out on family get-togethers, Christmas might perchance be the only time they can darken the church doors. Since it is likely a given that they will hear the message of how Christ came to die in our stead, giving us eternal life if we choose it, what better time for that person to come to church? Even if the situation is such that the person could come to church during the year, but chose not to, what better time to choose to do so? Brother Andrews, my pastor, once asked someone why they only came on Easter and Christmas. The response he got, though sad, was a bit humorous. The man told Brother Andrews that he was in fact in God’s army, but in the Secret Service portion! If that “Secret Service” person only comes on Christmas day, but still hears the message, giving their heart to Christ, I want to know where someone finds fault with Christmas. Shouldn’t you be proud that there was a special day set aside that he could hear the message of the Gospel? As a Christian, it is about winning souls for the Kingdom of God, not splitting hairs about what day they came!
I consider myself a connoisseur of Christmas music, having LP upon LP, CD upon CD, cassette upon cassette, 8-track upon 8-track and so forth. To say I love Christmas music would be like saying the Pope is Catholic! I bring this up to show that if anyone should know the message of Christmas music, I should. From Jim Nabors singing “Go Tell It on the Mountain” to Elvis Presley crooning “Silent Night,” the message of Christ is brought forth in song every Christmas season. Just like the person who hears the gospel message only once or twice a year, they are hearing the name of Christ exalted in the music, music that is played in stores, on television and on the radio. The central message of the Gospel is evident in many Christmas songs leading me to beg the question to the Christmas naysayers, what is so wrong about a time of the year that the story of Christ is brought out for public viewing in song?
Christmas is a relaxing day of the year if you allow it to be. Many people will choose to stay home, watching parades and football. Others will choose family time to go look at Christmas lights or simply just visit with one another. No matter the chosen mode of relaxation, Christmas can be a tranquil day of the year if you allow it to be. We all need time to recharge our batteries, and this makes for a picture-perfect time to do so.
Last but not least, Christmas is just a fun time of the year! There are Scrooge-types out there who simply will not entertain the idea of “fun,” but the Bible tells us that there are times for celebration and merry making. Caroling down the street with neighbors; singing along with the family while someone strums the guitar; putting decorations on the tree and hanging lights. There are so many Christmas activities that give you the “warm fuzzies,” that you merely do not get any other time of the year.
If and when Scrooge decides to give me a “bah humbug,” I’m going to give him a big “Merry Christmas!” Christmas is something special, a day unlike others that you won’t find any other time of the year. God is not sitting on His throne in Heaven waiting to strike me down for putting up a Christmas tree, nor is He turning up the furnace in Hell extra hot because I already have my fireplace hearth and mantle festooned with my numerous Christmas houses and figurines. Christmas is a time for families to be together, a time for the name of Christ to be exalted in churches and Christmas hymns, and a time for people to have fun and relax. Perhaps I am like country singer Bill Anderson, being born with too much of the spirit of Christmas in me, but I must agree with how Andy Williams put it-it’s the most wonderful time of the year!