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I. WILL IT BE CHRISTMAS OR XMAS?
A. Christmas reminds us that God is near & that He is available to all who will open their eyes to see, their ears to hear, & their hearts to follow Him.
But our problem at Christmas time is that when we do open our eyes we see so many different things.
1. On one hand we see crowded shopping malls, & presents that need to be bought, & traffic jams, & a pile of cards to be sent out. We see all the commercialization of Christmas.
2. But on the other hand we see a manger & a young mother holding a baby in her arms. We see a tired carpenter who has led them across a desert area to a place of warmth & safety. We hear angels singing, & see shepherds coming in adoration, & wise men bringing their gifts.
The two pictures simply donít go together. They conflict with one another. So we come away confused, wondering what we are really supposed to see at Christmas time.
ILL. I think C. S. Lewis hit the nail on the head when he said, "We really celebrate two holidays on December 25th. One we call íXmasí & the other we call íChristmas.í"
B. Maybe we ought to separate the two & understand that they are actually different holidays.
On the Xmas side, we have a figure - Santa Claus. And on the Christmas side we also have a figure - Jesus.
On the Xmas side we have symbols - a Christmas tree, jingling bells, & reindeer. And on the Christmas side we also have symbols - a manger, shepherds, & wise men.
On the Xmas side we have presents - trinkets that we buy & that often cost too much money. On the Christmas side we have a priceless gift that will last forever & ever.
C. And it is important that we separate the two holidays in our minds because you see, Grinches can steal Xmas, but Grinches canít steal Christmas.
Circumstances can rob us of Xmas. If we canít buy the gifts, if we donít have the money, if we arenít invited to the right parties, if we donít feel a part of things, if the kids have gone away & arenít coming home to visit, if we are suffering pain or hardship - all these can rob us of Xmas, because Xmas depends on circumstances, on presents & cards & celebration & all the things that go with it. And if they are not there then weíll not have a merry Xmas.
But Christmas comes anyway, whether there are cards or presents or trees or feasts or parties. Christmas comes anyway. It is important to realize that nothing can rob us of the real joy of Christmas.
Every year we hear people say, "Oh, I dread Christmas. I just hate to think that Christmas is coming again." Those are the people who are celebrating Xmas. They are all caught up in the pressure & the expense & the materialism of it all.
But the people who get the most out of it are those celebrating the joy & wonder & grandeur of Christmas, & nothing can take that away from us.
SUM. So which are we celebrating, Xmas or Christmas? Is it possible to separate the two? Now please understand what I am saying next. I donít think there is anything wrong with Xmas as long as we donít go too far with it. Letís go ahead & have it but letís be sure that we separate the two different holidays in our minds so that nothing can rob us of the real joy of Christmas.
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