Some sects of the church do not observe Christmas at all. Probably the most well know modern church that refuses to celebrate this holiday is the Jehovah Witnesses. It may surprise many people to learn that most of the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony also banned this holiday. If approached without bias, an honest study of the origins of this holiday might not cancel all your Christmases but you would be certain of one thing, it is a man made mandate and nothing less. The advent is of God but the celebration of it, is of man.
I believe that the birth of Jesus Christ was the most important single event to happen on this old earth since it began. But I can’t prove to myself or anyone else that Christmas is a God given mandate. I don’t like the middle of the road stance on anything, I have always thought it is a cowards hiding place. I choose not to fight Christmas but to preach the Christ of Christmas. I abhor all that Christmas has become but I also know that it has a momentum that makes the speed of light look pokey. Suffice it to say that all the peripheral Christmas excesses and nonsense notwithstanding, I am glad for a season where at least some people are considering the birth of the Savior.
I don’t have an active battle going against Christmas but I cannot help raising at least one question. Where does Hollywood come into the picture? After feeding us sex, violence, crime, witchcraft, debauch and mayhem all year long how do they suddenly qualify for telling us the true meaning of Christmas?
The Christmas specials are like a black hole sucking in every ones attention from November first, to the dropping of the ball on Times Square. The Grinch, Little House on the Prairie, Charlie Brown, The Christmas Shoes, Scrooge and Marley, Robbie the Reindeer, Rudolph the Reindeer, Bambi the Reindeer (whoops), this is some of the specials fare and lest I forget, isn’t some network still playing John Denver’s Christmas specials?
Sure, some of them are ok and might be moderately entertaining, but the question still begs to be answered, how does Hollywood presume to tell us the true meaning of Christmas. Perhaps I should say, how do they even know the true meaning of Christmas. Do directors and producers take an October sabbatical to holy places, or secret themselves away and study the bible for a few weeks prior to the season? Not likely.
Almost everyone knows the biblical account of the birth of Christ. If you are one of those who somehow missed it just pick up a bible and read the entire second chapter of the Gospel of Luke. Remember you will only be reading the beginning of the story. If I were Paul Harvey I would urge you to take a break after which I would advise you to read “the rest of the story.” Jesus also lived a sinless life, preached the words of life, gave up his life and now offers you life. The rest of the story is what the full meaning of Christmas actually is. If taking a verse or passage out of context is truly only a pretext, then all of the meaning of Christmas dribble Hollywood serves up is just a pretext, regardless of how quaint or entertaining it may seem. The story of Christ’s humble birth is only the beginning and it is not supposed to end with television specials. It must end only with…”the rest of the story.”
Let me end with a “meaning of Christmas” though: “we are prone to think of the fullest meaning of Christmas as being a babe in a manger. Even though this is true, and even though the baby was the Christ child and promised Messiah of the scripture it still leaves something to be desired. When we consider that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself 1Corinthians 5:19 then the picture is significantly altered. It is not just a babe in a manger but it is…God in a baby.”
You can’t get any closer to the true meaning of Christmas than this, and if should you choose to ponder this wonderful truth let me say to you with all sincerity…Merry Christmas.