Christmas to me speaks of wonderful memories of childhood imaginations as I lay under the Christmas tree looking up through the brilliantly lighted and decked out branches, dreaming of what a perfect world would be like if it were lived in the branches of that tree; where everyone would get along and share good things with one another, as I looked at the beautiful various Christmas ornaments and characters hanging from the limbs; all enhancing the splendor of the other; adding to the life of the tree itself, accentuating the peaceful, happy feeling this scene induced in my heart and soul. The smell of pine that made me think of cleanness, freshness, and purity. The variety of ornaments and characters made me appreciate the beauty of diversity. Then of course ole Saint Nick, a grand ole man with a heart of gold, full of love for all children; which was great considering I was one. I really never thought or believed that good ole Santa would ever take away a child's Christmas presents for being bad; I only thought that he used that idea to make us be good, which I knew we should be anyway. Some would say that this imaginary man and all the Christmas decor has harmed the faith of young people when they come to find out that Ole Santa isn’t real after all. I would beg to disagree. If anything, I believe that my believing in Santa Claus, what he stood for, and all the décor and symbolism of the Christmas holiday "added to" the development of my ability to believe in the best in all things and people. I think it was part of the process of learning to believe in all the good in our world; and the benefits and benevolence, inherent in that goodness. I believe it is appropriate to have light displays, figures of Santa Claus, his elves, and reindeer; along with the manger scenes, the stories of the birth of Jesus Christ as the savior of the world, and the goodness of God, all out at the same time together for all to see and ponder. Santa is easier for the younger ones to grasp and gain interest in; and The Christ is the heart and soul of the Santa Claus story; we learn that this love and acceptance, goodness and grace, reward and correction really come from the creator God of the universe who is forever blessing, amen. In this way young and old, the rich and the poor, the black and white, brown, and red, we all get a refreshing look at what love, goodness, peace, and grace look like in action. Even Jesus used stories, and acted out illustrations in his teaching, some now called parables, The Lord did this to illustrate a point. Most of the time these characters and events Jesus spoke of in these stories were not real or true. But that was not the purpose or intent of his heart in this story telling; it was to get a message of love, acceptance, and grace across to the people. Jesus even the Christ did not fully disclose who he really was to most; so that he might teach them as “the son of man” or another human as we would say this today. Therefore appearing to be one thing while in reality was something else in order to teach a lesson, share a message and make a point. Am I making my point? The human mind thinks in pictures and this is how we learn and remember the best. The God that created us was only utilizing this tool for our benefit as I believe we are in the harmless but helpful Christmas stories told and recreated each year. I have never met a man or woman that said that they didn’t believe in God because their parents lied to them about Santa Claus, Or they didn’t believe the bible because of the story of Rudolph the red nose reindeer, or said they had given up on Christianity because they found out that the three wise men were really ancient magicians and astrologers. No, there is a lot of good to glean from the Christmas holiday and I am going gleaning - Rom. 12:15 “I rejoice with those who rejoice”.
There are many well meaning people that have written some very deep and thought provoking articles full of fact filled research on the subject of the celebration of the Christmas Holiday; finding that it is filled with pagan tradition and symbolism. These articles (written by authors that, by and large, I highly respect) are for the most part true;…..if you strictly stick to the facts and don’t look at the heart of the Holiday.
In the Christian new testament in 2Co 3:6 it says
“ He has made us competent as ministers of a newIf we stick to the strict literal outward appearance of things we will see mostly death, decay, and evil. But God tells us not to look at things that way if we are to think like He does or with the mind of Christ. Listen to these verses of scripture and let them sink down into your soul, meditate on these for a minute or two. Let the Spirit of the God of all grace and peace speak to you.
covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
1Ch 28:9 “ for the LORD searches all hearts
and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you”
SA 16:7. “For the LORD sees not as man sees:
man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."
Mat 6:22-23 “Your eyes are like a window
for your body. When they are good, you have all the light you need. But when your eyes are bad, everything is dark. If the light inside you is dark, you surely are in the dark.”
We see what we look for in other words. The original language underlying word here for “eye” can also just as easily mean “perception” which is what you “think” you see, or by thinking - want to see. Jesus said one time that there were some that “have eyes but cannot see” and that many though seeing - where blind (to what was clearly right in front of them) go back and read these verses again, and think about these things.
The bible also tells us to be careful with our well meaning knowledge.
CO 8:1 ....... we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.
Let us not judge in our well meaning knowledge and learning of the facts (the law that kills) but let us judge in the Spirit of the season of Christmas (the heart) which is undeniably all about love, peace, happiness, and giving like the biggest giver of all – JESUS THE CHRIST, who’s story and truth is not tarnished or harmed in any way, but honored and shared, I believe, more at this time of year than any other. And this my friends is GOOD!
2Co 4:6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
Rev. Dennis Caldwell