Not too long ago, my parents and I made a long drive from my home in Nolensville, TN all the way to Houston, TX. To stay alert during the 12 hour journey, I changed radio stations often, picking up all kinds of music along the way. I was delighted when I came across Christmas music; it was the first time to hear the familiar tunes of the season. I found myself snappin' and tappin' down the highway, over the river and through the woods. However, the longer I listened to the merry melodies, the more I began to realize, no Christmas carols, not one. I waited and waited, but to no avail. All the familiar songs were tossed around: I'll be Home for Christmas, Frosty the Snowman,Jingle Bells, but there was no: O Holy Night, Joy to the World, or O Come All Ye Faithful. Wow, no Christmas Carols at Christmas time? I was taken off gaurd, eager to enter into the season in both fun-filled lyrics and worshipful song. After a while, I felt empty, and actually quite exhausted. (I think I heard Rockin' around the Christmas Tree too many times in too short a span. Too much rockin' for nothin'.)
I know taking Jesus out of the season is not a new idea; Christmas is being stripped down to a mere happy holiday, year by year.We've seen it happen in our school system, in our mainstream stores, and in our social settings. Jesus is pushed aside, yet the holiday hooplah carries on. I liken it to attending an exquisite wedding without the bride and groom, or throwing a huge graduation party without the graduate. When the guest of honor is absent, these events are reduced to a large crowd of meaningless amusement. So is Christmas without Christ.
Truth be known, I think we should not expect the non-believer to celebrate Christ during this season. Why would a secular company chose to bear His Name? Or why would a main-stream radio station proclaim His good news? Of course, it saddens me to see our Christian heritage becoming a thing of the past. And, I'm sure it grieves the Lord as well.
But, I think what might grieve God more is when we, the believer, diminish Him at Christmas. How? By getting caught up in the hustle and bustle and expense of the season, by spinning from one activity to the next, by making a list and checking it (more than!) twice, by being so full of the season that there is no room to let Him in. So Christian, let's not worry so much about the world and it's predictable behavior of diminishing the holy-days. Instead, let's look within:
First, look into your own heart. Take quiet reverential time to acknowledge Jesus; proclaim one of His many Names in praise; carry this Name with you all day long.
Second, acknowledge Jesus in your home; share this heartfelt Name (from your quiet time) with your spouse and with your children.
Third, acknowldege Jesus in your "world." Give this Name to your neighbor, your co-worker, or your friend.
Keep His Name pulsating through your heart, your home, and your world, day after day, all season long.Your small voice from a sincere heart of faith in Christ Jesus will ring louder than any half-hearted banner or any seasonal red cup. I am certain, as the "secular Merry Christmas sayings" fade away to nothing, the faith-filled voices will not stop singing; they will rise in triumph and in adoration, worshiping Jesus as the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace… the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings, the Lord of lords…the image of the invisible God…the head over all rule and authority…Immanuel, which translated means, "God with us". (Is. 9:6, I Tim. 6:15, Col. 1:15, Col. 2:10, Matt. 1:23)
Christian, as the world goes silent, 'tis the Season…to sing to the world.
Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice
Now ye hear of endless bliss
Jesus Christ was born for this
He hath ope'd the heav'nly door
And man is blessed evermore
Christ was born for this
Christ was born for this.
(John Mason Neale, 19th century)
*3 Directional tools for you during this Christmas Season, located on the sidebar of my website:www.respitefortheweary.com:
1. Christmas Devotional: Who is this Jesus, and Why did He Come? (starts Dec. 1st)
2. Older Christmas posts: Celebrating Christmas
3. My new 365 day devotional book: The Heartbeat of God
Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly...Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. Psalm 149:1, 3-4
I don't think we praise you enough. Forgive us for being too busy to stop and acknowledge your power and might, your love and care. Help us to pause for a moment and exalt you today. Give us a new song of praise in our hearts and in our mouths and may you take pleasure in what you hear. Amen.