When I was in high school, we had a Christian club called BASIC. That meant “Bothers And Sisters In Christ.” Looking back, our weekly huddle in a classroom, with our dry sandwiches, was the first time I got to be a Christian without supervision. My older generation liked to control the kids, and religion was pushed on me constantly, at home and in church. We knew how to behave, to avoid criticism and discipline, but I think most of my friends dropped out of church as soon as they grew up, and they don’t identify as Christian now.
In BASIC, we made our own choices. Maturity had to start somewhere, and I learned about Christianity that was just Jesus. The members of BASIC came from different churches, and some had no family church. I remember two girls from a Plymouth Brethren group, and they seemed to detest Christmas. To them, the season was filled with pagan symbols and idols and shrines, especially those decorated trees. I struggled with their ideas, but I learned that the welfare of my sisters in Christ was more important than a cultural tradition. That conviction has stayed with me.
If you are wondering, we don’t have children in our home, so we don’t decorate our place for the season. My two little grand daughters appreciate bright colorful things, and I am happy to buy them presents and make them smile. I’m good either way.
For me, Jesus is the reason for the season, and if they take away the season, Jesus is still the reason. I learned that in BASIC.
In the secular world, there is a season, but Jesus was carefully erased long ago. For example, now people say “Season’s Greetings” and I can’t find many places with manger scenes to illustrate the Bible story. They used to be common. It is now offensive and unprofessional to say “Merry Christmas” and I can’t imagine the explosion if I said “God bless you” in a public place.
So how are we doing with our secular, Jesus-free mid-winter season? You might have noticed that the play list on radio stations is changing. One famous seasonal song is being cancelled in many places; “Baby it’s cold outside.” And there are others on the naughty list: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” – “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” – “Santa Baby” and I’m sure there will be more. That’s the secular music they pipe into the shopping malls through the whole month of December.
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This seems to be the year when secular people find secular Christmas music to be offensive. I don’t mind it in the background, but I am always happy when they turn it off in January. And I think I understand the rejection of all those seasonal songs. Christmas, the birthday celebration for Jesus, is meaningless without the person. It’s like a car in the driveway with the engine block removed. It has no function, and eventually someone will call a tow truck.
Do you know the story of how Jesus was born? Do you know the story of how Jesus was born in you? Knowing about a person, and actually knowing the person are two different things.
Are you offended by the silly political correctness that is killing classical Christmas music? Me too. But before we speak up and protest, we should ask ourselves a question. What’s the point of making the rules if we don’t play the game?
God mad a promise long ago; “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2)
The promise is for the gift of someone, not something.
I am writing this in early December, and I certainly wish you a Merry Christmas, and I hope that God blesses you and yours in this season. And I hope your Christmas is a birthday celebration for someone you know.
And my Scottish sensibilities wish you a Happy New Year. God’s gift can stay after they turn off the music.
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice, from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9: 6 to 7)