Christmas, like Thanksgiving, Father's Day and birthday celebrations, is a day that we devote to family time. We create special traditions in hopes of making memories and passing them along to our children. Christmas is no different in that aspect. However, it is also a holiday with great religious significance, especially in the United States. Many families celebrate the birth of Christ and may even celebrate the day as Jesus' birthday. I'm sure most everyone realizes Christmas is not the actual birthday of Jesus. No where in the Bible are we told the precise day that He was born, nor are we commanded to celebrate Christmas. In fact, it is believed that Christmas began as a pagan holiday full of indulgent sin. Regardless of its origin, isn't it wonderful to see so many focus on our Lord if only this one time a year?
Certainly we should teach our children about Jesus all year long and remember the greatest gift we have been given. I'm thankful for the teachable moments this time of year provides. I enjoy seeing the many nativity scenes on display this time of year and use them to recount the birth of Jesus with my two year old daughter. However, since there is no command to celebrate Christ's birth, no one should be condemned for choosing not to celebrate Christmas or associate it with the birth of Christ. I think the most important thing is to remember the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23:
"For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it." (New American Standard)There are some who may be offended by the Christian holiday because of its pagan origin. Others may be offended if we do not take time to think of blessings we have in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). In all that we do, may be always be mindful of our ability to influence souls, teach them and encourage them to dwell on the blessings we have in Christ. The birth of Christ is just the beginning of a beautiful story that we can share. Let us continue to share the life of Jesus and the ultimate gift we can have through clothing ourselves in Christ (Galatians 3:26-27). I promise it will be better than anything we unwrap under the Christmas tree ;-) Merry Christmas!