“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” – Luke 2:19Continue Reading...
Archives For Christmas
My son told me that a friend of his said his church was only open on Christmas and Easter. I immediately laughed. My son was a bit perplexed at my reaction and I explained to him that his friend’s church was open all year round but that his classmate probably only went to church on Christmas and Easter.
That family, obviously, is part of the C & E club. Church attendance only warrants going on Christmas and Easter for them. They’re not the only ones in that club. In fact, at my church there is hardly a seat to be found around those holidays whereas on other days I can have a pick of rows of where we want to sit.
The C & E club is a tough crowd. I am sure that as a pastor it is hard to gauge what message is important knowing that you only have the C & E club specifically at those times. How do you reach the people who only think church is important on Christmas and Easter? More importantly why do people, who fail to acknowledge Sunday Sabbath throughout the year, even feel compelled to attend church on the most religious holidays of the year?
Now this post is not about church attendance and conviction. If going to church made a person more spiritual or an award-winning Christian then hallelujah there are millions of saints “in the house”. However, no matter what faith denomination a person attends, I do know one thing – attending church will never guarantee your safe passage to the pearly gates.
So I don’t admonish the C & E attendees. I think the fact that they are acknowledging their faith and belief in both the birth and death of Christ, even on just two times of the year, says something about their pursuit for faith and belief. I think my question is more for the church. Why does the church fail to reach these club members to have them pursue a more regular attendance? Does the church soften the message of salvation and the need for Christ specifically on these days or is this the only time that the church truly speaks the message of the cross?
I am not a pastor or even in any kind of church role leadership so I have no idea of the magnitude and responsibility in trying to reach the C & E members or even ministering to the regular attendees. They truly are two different clubs. However, perhaps that’s the crux of this dilemma. The church of Christ was never intended to be a club. The church is an extension of one’s faith in Jesus Christ. It’s not about attending every time the doors open and it’s not about going at just significant times. The church was not built to need club members. It was built so that we would find spiritual refuge among the body of Christ.
There are specifically two times throughout the year that the church celebrates the birth and death of our Savior; Christmas and Easter. The C & E club arrives for the message of salvation and the cross. Maybe the church should stop trying so hard to attract the C & E members with their latest programs or new wave evangelism but instead learn a lesson from the C & E club. After all, scriptures have already shown us that the simplicity of the message of the cross is what always attracts the greatest crowds.
We’ve all heard about the war on Christmas. The politically correct season of “Happy Holidays” or the well wishes for a “Happy Season” without saying the potentially offensive word of CHRISTmas. I admit I use to get wrapped up in that war. I even almost bought one of those bumper stickers that said, “Keep Christ in Christmas”. I am over it and I have moved on to the war on Santa. Huh?
When my husband and I were new parents we had a little “discussion” about Santa. He grew up with the fun belief and child-like wonder of Santa. I did not. Now I never knew Santa as the “Satan” many extreme Christians made him out to be but we just didn’t grow up with the Santa thing. In fact, I had to keep my dis-belief on the down-low as not to offend or ruin the tradition of Santa for other family friends. So having my own children I just assumed my kids would follow my up-bringing with the fun to look at Santa but not to believe in. After all, I never wanted anything to take away from the true meaning of Christmas.
My husband had a different perspective. Fast forward almost 15 Christmas’ now with children and Santa is always alive and well each Christmas morning. We even have a red suit tucked away in our closet. If ever a girl could “backslide” into the down spiral of Santa ville um, that’s me.
So what changed for me in deciding Santa was okay? I admit I was apprehensive. As a parent, I wanted to instill the importance of Christmas and the birth of Christ in my children so they could learn to worship and honor the season with reverence. I didn’t want Santa to take anything away from that. Then I realized Santa and the many distractions that come with the holiday cannot take away the truth revealed through the celebration of the birth of Christ.
How silly to think that my husband and I would be somehow limiting the truth through Santa. You cannot limit the message of Christ when you genuinely worship the real meaning of the season. This became reality for me the other day when I read a sentence in a story my 9-year-old son wrote entitled, “Winter”. As he was describing why winter was his favorite season with snow and cold air he wrote, “We celebrate Christmas on the 25th because that’s when Jesus was born. I think the greatest gift I could ever get on Christmas is God and Jesus”. My eyes filled with tears as a mother reading that because Truth in my son’s heart is greater than fiction. No mention of the guy in the red suit who probably still might show up early this next Christmas morning.
Now I am not promoting Santa in any family. I didn’t grow up with the old jolly St. Nick and I don’t feel I was gipped of any Christmas wonder. I am just sharing for the sake of the war on Christmas and for all the Santa bashers that always appear around this time of year. If you truly live out your faith in front of your children and worship the true and living God, nothing will separate your children from the real truth in knowing Christmas is about the Savior born in a wooden manger and crucified on that forgiveness stained cross.