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The Christmas season is upon us once again. The air has cooled, the leaves have fallen, and decorations have begun to appear. Soon snow will be on the ground, and a festive holiday spirit will fill the air. But, what of Christ?
It becomes more apparent with each passing year that, even for Believers, Christmas is becoming less about Christ, and more about self. The stores are filled with merchandise designed to appeal to the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Advertisements with slogans such as "Discover the true meaning of Christmas at Mary's Fine Apparel Shop with an all-new winter wardrobe!" are appearing in our newspapers on a daily basis. Greedy children are being enticed, as well as their materialistic parents who somehow have gotten the notion that "the only good Christmas is an expensive Christmas." One church member recently commented that it seemed like Christmas had become an opportunity to "max out your credit card in the name of Christ." What a sad, but all too often valid observation.
We who understand the importance of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ need to step back and ask ourselves: What is Christmas really all about? It is a time chosen to commemorate what may be the greatest event in history: the conception and birth of the God/man, Jesus Christ. I Tim. 3:16 tells us that
"great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh." Galatians 4:4 teaches that
"when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Certainly some of the social and seasonal aspects of Christmas are not sinful in and of themselves. Yet, we must be careful to not let them blur the importance of what is being commemorated: that Jesus Christ, God of very God, was willing to condescend to man. He was willing to humble Himself to come to earth, so that He could
"humble Himself and become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8). What great love! What a wonderful God!
This year, let our celebration be "Christ alone. May our remembrances and customs revolve around Him who loved us and gave His life for us. Rather than keeping Christ in Christmas, or putting Christ in Christmas, may Christ BE Christmas: the reason for the celebration, and the focal point of every thought and action.
Mark J. Montgomery