Even in mid-November in this eastern part of Canada, people were taking advantage of the relatively mild weather and putting out their Christmas decorations: lights, Christmas trees, and those inflatable lawn decorations. One day, I noticed that new residents in our neighbourhood had three fan-inflated characters on their lawn, none of which I could identify. All three were dogs, and although I checked the hardware store website, I couldn't find the actual names of these three. I did, however see an inflatable of Santa emerging from an outhouse!
It seems that Christmas is now just about being silly. Having been founded as a Christian attempt to redeem Saturnalia — the week-long, pagan Roman festival of light to the god Saturn leading up to the winter solstice — it appears to have reverted back to its origins, with feasting, a carnival, and an "anything goes" atmosphere.
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (KJV)
Traditional Christian symbols seem to be fading, while the Grinch and Minions seem to be on the rise. Whatever happened to bells and stars and wreaths? Although they didn't fully portray the meaning of Christmas, they did represent church bells, the star of David, and the wreath, a full circle of God's plan for humanity and His faithfulness. There was a connection to the real reason that we celebrate Christmas. Vanishing is the calm, peaceful, gentle atmosphere of Christmases past. Fading away is the reassuring music that was uplifting and meaningful, like Silent Night and Joy To The World.
Isaiah 9:6 – For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (KJV)
The true meaning of Christmas is that when Christ was born on earth, God's plan for humanity's salvation was in place. God was going to reconcile us, His beloved creation, to Himself. He was willing to offer His own Son as an atoning sacrifice.
With cartoon characters sporting Christmas hats and red-and-green clothing, what message are we giving to our children about the reason for the season? Obviously, it's party-time, just like Saturnalia, and it grieves my heart that our youth may never know what Christmas really represents.
As Christians and ambassadors for Christ, it is our duty to try in our own towns and families to tell the true Christmas story as often as possible and to represent to others what God did for us that Christmas Day so long ago.
Prayer: Heavenly Father and loving God, Who gave us Your own Son to live and die to reconcile us to You for eternity, may we be quick to speak to a heathen world and explain what Christmas is really about. May those hearing us then be moved to draw closer to You and to accept the great gift that You sent us that first Christmas in Bethlehem. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Good Christian Men Rejoice" (Lyrics)