Celebrating Christmas With Dignity

July 4, 2012

Celebrating Christmas With Dignity

            If there is going to be a celebration, shouldn’t there be a reason for it?  We celebrate a birthday because someone we know is a year older.  We celebrate because our political party won an election or our athletic team won a championship game.  It’s strange that, if we ask a lot of people why they celebrate Christmas, they don’t know what to say.  Perhaps they’ll say “It’s because of the birth of Christ.”  Even so, in their celebration, they give little, if any, recognition to Christ. For some, Christmas is nothing more than an occasion for giving themselves to unbridled indulgence.

It’s unfortunate that many, who profess to be Christians, are carried along by the customs of those around them.  A believer in Christ should know what it means to celebrate Christmas with dignity.  Christmas is celebrated in various ways in different parts of the world.  They aren’t always wrong.  We should know how to distinguish between good and bad customs.

In the thinking of many people, you can’t celebrate without alcoholic beverages.  They close their eyes to the carnage and shame that results from the consumption of alcohol.  Thousands die on the highways every year because of it.   Thousands becomes victims of alcoholism.  Marriages and homes are broken up because of it.  Proverbs 20:1 says “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”  The occasion doesn’t justify doing wrong.  Sometimes, on Christmas Eve, a relative or friend of a Christian invites him to drink a toast to the occasion with a glass of cider or whisky.  The easiest thing to do would be to participate without saying anything.  To refuse might be embarrassing and require an explanation.  A good Christian is always ready to explain why he doesn’t participate in sinful acts.  How can we ask for good to come by using that which has so much potential for evil?

We are not being honest with our children when we tell them that their good behavior will be rewarded by a jolly old fat man who comes around at Christmas.  What a crime it is to tell them that this jolly old fat man has divine power and knows them personally and knows if they have been naughty or nice during the year.  What a shame it is that even professing Christians let Santa Claus take the place of Christ.  Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14).  Satan is adept at putting something or someone between men and God.  Among those he uses are the pope, the Virgin Mary, saints and, for the children, Santa Claus.  Why don’t we tell children that at Christmas we give gifts because Jesus gave his life for us so that we can have life and life more abundantly?

It’s sad to hear of the many social conflicts that result from Christmas.  Some try to impress others with expensive gifts or elaborate celebrations.  Many times family gatherings turn into arguments and family fights.  Some people have a nervous breakdown after the holiday.  Some are moved to tears and shame because a loved one drank too much and made a fool of himself or herself and brought shame on the family.

All of this should cause us to see the need of being careful about the way we celebrate Christmas.  If we can honestly say that the birth of Christ is the reason why we celebrate Christmas, we should then take into consideration that which is pleasing to him.  We should also take into consideration what the Apostle Paul said, “I therefore, (the prisoner of the Lord,) beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (Ephesians 4:1).  Sometimes our relatives invite us to participate with them in questionable or shameful things.  We don’t need to pass ourselves off as “super saints.”  At the same time, it should be possible to find a kind way of saying, “I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable about doing that.”  In all of life, including Christmas, our rule should be, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (I Corinthians 14:40).

Now I would like to suggest some things you could do to celebrate Christmas with dignity.

  1.  Gather the family together and read the Biblical account of Christ’s birth.  It’s found in Mathew 1:18-2:27 and Luke 1:26-35, 2:1-20.
  2. Watch, with the family, a DVD about the birth of Christ or some other good Christian DVD.
  3. If you give gifts, they don’t need to be costly.  Something made by hand is always well received.
  4. If someone in the family knows how to play a musical instrument, it’s great to pass some time together singing hymns and Christmas carols.
  5. If you know someone who will most likely be alone on Christmas day, why don’t you invite them to spend the day at your house?
  6. Make some ginger bread, sweet rolls or cookies and share them with your neighbors and friends.
  7. Go to the local hospital at visiting hours on Christmas day and give the patients a little gift and a tract from your church.

Some people say that we as Christian’s shouldn’t celebrate Christmas at all.  They point out that it originated from a pagan holiday.  That may be true but I see nothing wrong with giving special recognition to Christ for his great sacrifice in coming to this world to be, for a time, one of us and to die on the cross so that we might have forgiveness and life worth living.  It would be better to not celebrate Christmas if your only reason is to indulge in sinful pleasure.  As we have seen, there are ways to celebrate Christmas with dignity and make it a glorious occasion.

  

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

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