Christmas seems to be a dividing line this year for many Christians. Some see it as a purely Pagan holiday with Christian colors, while the rest of the believing world embraces the celebration without reserve. Personally, I was more concerned with the fact that today’s world commemorates Christmas without Christ. I recently visited the largest Christmas attraction in the city, a seasonal fair in Stanley Park with train rides, light displays and food tents, but in the midst of dozens of snowmen, Santas, Rudolphs and Elves, there stood only one lone small nativity scene, nestled in an unsuspecting corner of the festival. This, along with the focus on gifts, trees, lights and everything else but Christ put me on the middle of the dividing line. I almost came to the point where I felt it necessary to completely divorce Christmas from all things associated with December 25th, and move on to a more somber remembrance of Christ’s birth. But in the midst of my thought process, one which seemed to be moving me closer to the side of the no-Christmas camp, I sensed that the Holy Spirit wasn’t pleased with the way my heart was pondering things. He seemed to be convicting me that aside from the possible Pagan elements, the consumerism and snowmen, God was still present in Christmas, and He was still pleased with our celebration of His Son’s birth.
It’s more than likely that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, that many people who celebrate Christmas aren’t concerned with the spiritual reasons for doing so, and that consumerism can go too far, but what confronted me was that despite all this, Jesus still took pleasure in the fact that this day had been set apart to remember and glorify the time when He first slipped into our world and shone His light in our midst. Aside from the train rides and trees, I took my family to Church where we sung carols which worshiped the living God. I raised my hands and Praised Christ with my four year old son who sang with me “Gloria In Exelcius Deo” ( or glory to God in the highest). I enjoyed a Turkey dinner with my in-laws, some of whom were Muslim, and we watched a video together about Jesus being the Prince of Peace, the bedrock of security and stability for our lives. I also got to spend time with my other family members who at present don’t follow Jesus, and watch them play with my kids as waves of laughter rolled. In such things, God is glorified.
It’s my contention, as a recovering legalist with a former finger pointing addiction, that God still receives our worship, still blesses our time with family and still uses December 25th as an opportunity to reveal His truth to the nations, regardless of the other shortcomings associated with it. I believe that God isn’t so much concerned with trying to find out what’s wrong with the world as He is with working towards what’s right. From my own former obsession with finding sin in everything and looking for the devil lurking under every rock, I’ve learned that oftentimes we overstep our bounds in analyzing things. So instead of focusing on the pitfalls, I think it’s important to see where God might be moving, and move with Him.