Van Yandell

Luke 2:10-11 “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

I put up my Christmas lights a little over three weeks ago. I go out most nights to look at the nativity scene, the two Christmas trees and the six lighted wreaths on my front windows. Sometimes I just stand there in the darkness in awe of our glorious Savior, the Light of the world and how precious He is. Last night as I considered Him and His supernatural greatness, tears filled my eyes.

In recent articles, I have addressed the topic of Christian persecution. The persecution is so massive and ongoing, there are several examples we haven’t even noticed yet.

One notable observation this time of year is the destruction of Christmas. Like so many other attacks on our culture, society and way of life, the tactics of the enemy are subtle, gradual and devious. It appears those set on destroying Christmas want to keep the holiday, but change the meaning.

When I was a little boy back in the 1950’s my dad and I took an ax and went to the woods or a fencerow. This happened usually about the middle of December. The single purpose of our journey was to find a Christmas tree. Cedar trees were in abundance back then and my dad had permission from the land owner to cut such a tree.

My mother, being a woman, ruled the house and we were not to put up the tree too early because it immediately began to dry and shed its foliage. Once the tree was erected, we began to place the decorations. We were very careful not to drop any of the decorations because they were fragile and easily broken.

The same decorations were used every year. The only item purchased most years was the icicles. We were a poor family; most everyone was back then, and could not afford to buy new decorations every year. Many of the decorations were home-made and much of the surface coloring had long ago worn off.

The presents under the tree always included a new pair of very stiff blue jeans, socks, and a few pieces of fruit and candy. I remember one year getting a set of Lincoln Logs. My dad was probably channeling me into a building mind-set that only he knew.

Christmas was a very extraordinary time. Uncle Charlie always came; that was my greatest gift ever. There was always plenty of food, and the reason for Christmas was first and foremost on everyone’s mind. This special time was a celebration of the birth of our savior, Christ Jesus.

Church programs often included a live nativity and only songs proclaiming our new born Savior were included in the presentation. Everything was about Jesus. Singing competition and fancy new clothes were not in anyone’s thoughts.

Things sure have changed in the past sixty-five years. Plastic Christmas trees had not yet been invented and “after Christmas sales,” did not exist. The merchants simply put away their goods and sold them “next” Christmas.

The usage of the phrase “artificial Christmas tree,” in itself, makes a statement as to what Christmas has become. To use a plastic tree is verification of the artificial status we have allowed Christmas to become. However, in today’s world, for most people it is not possible to cut their own real Christmas tree.

The national news media focuses on the number of people flying or traveling over the holiday but rarely mentions the birth of Christ. To many in our world today, the celebration is a bottle of liquor or a drug high. Even the weather takes a higher priority on most networks than Jesus. To even mention His name has been classified by many as politically incorrect. Many Christian groups have been regarded as hate groups because we teach that Jesus is the only salvation (Acts 4: 12).

Last year I built a Nativity Scene for my front yard. There is very little traffic on this street, but I’ve noticed several cars slowing down to look at it. Hopefully, someone will see it and make a connection to Christmas.

As Christians, it is difficult not to become a part of the fiasco Christmas has become. I see the signs and bumper stickers displaying, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Of all people, we must not allow this very simple message to become meaningless.

If Christians allow the secular materialistic mindset to dominate us, then Christmas for what it really is will become a thing of the past.

It has become easy for Christians to say, “Let them celebrate as they will, and I will celebrate my way.” This is an attitude askew to Biblical teaching, especially those scriptures we call the Great Commission. If we lose the inclination to evangelize the world, we’ve lost the spirit of Christmas.

If we no longer feel a burden for the unchurched of this world, somewhere along the way we’ve missed the point.

There are many symbols of Christmas the secular world uses to produce a holiday. The tree, lights, gifts and even Santa Claus are some of those symbols. The tree, symbolizing life and growth; the lights are shining examples that Jesus is the light of the world; and the gifts represent the greatest gift man has ever received. Santa shows us that giving and receiving are both a blessing.

The business world has made the selling of those symbols into a huge part of their earnings potential in recent years. Has Christmas become about profits and not about worship and celebration? In order to prevent the destruction of Christmas, Christians must wake up. If we don’t see it happening, no one else will. Jesus is alive and so is Christmas; for now.

Just thinking about the changes the world has made to Christmas is bringing back those tears.