Summary: Addresses some issues of whether Christian should or should not celebrate Christmas.
Celebrating Christmas As A Christian
¡§A little girl came home from Sunday School triumphantly waving a paper, ¡¥Mommy!¡¦ she said, ¡¥My teacher says I drew the most unusual Christmas picture she has ever seen!¡¦
The mother studied the picture for a moment and concluded it was indeed a very peculiar Christmas picture. ¡¥This is wonderfully drawn, but why have you made all these people riding on the back of an airplane?¡¦ the mother gently asked.
¡¥It¡¦s the flight into Egypt,¡¦ the little girl said, with a hint of disappointment that the picture¡¦s meaning was not immediately obvious.
¡¥Oh,¡¦ the mother said cautiously. ¡¥Well, who is this mean looking man at the front?¡¦
¡¥That¡¦s Pontius, the Pilot,¡¦ the girl said now visibly impatient.
¡¥I see. And here you have Mary and Joseph and the baby,¡¦ the mother volunteered. Studying the picture silently for a moment, she summoned the courage to ask, ¡¥But who is this fat man sitting behind Mary?¡¦
The little girl sighed, ¡¥Can¡¦t you tell? That¡¦s Round John Virgin!¡¦ We laugh but the sad truth is that little girl¡¦s mixed-up perspective of Christmas is not really much more muddled than the notions the average person carries around. Christmas has become an elaborate fabrication, and our cele-bration reflects that. The cast of characters we bring out at Christmas is no less bizarre than the ensemble that little girl put on her airplane. Our Christmases are the product of an odd mixture of superstition, fanciful legends and plan ignorance. The real message of Christmas is all but lost in the chaos.¡¨ [John MacArthur. ¡§God With Us: The Miracle of Christmas.¡¨ (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1989) p. 13-14.]
After the letter I read addressed to Santa in this morning¡¦s service I thought it might be appropriate to deal with the subject of how should a Christian celebrate Christmas. It is not that I am against mentioning Santa Claus, but that we should teach our children the truth about Santa.
¡§In the popular ¡§Hi and Lois¡¨ comic strip, writer often puts into words what is in the mind of the little baby girl who is the pride of the family. During a comic strip that appeared during the Christmas season, the little girl is pictured as thinking, ¡¥I sure do love Christmas. I don¡¦t know what it is all about yet, but I sure do love it.¡¦ Many are in the same boat as this little girl. They enjoy Christmas, but they just don¡¦t know what it is all about. Think how much more enjoyment they would receive if they understood the full significance of Christmas.¡¨ [J. Michael Shannon
/Robert C. Shannon. ¡§Celebrating the Birth of Christ: Worship, Preaching and Program Resources for Christmas.¡¨ (Cincinnati: Standard Pub., 1985). P. 44]
This evening by way of answering how to go about ¡§Celebrating Christmas as A Christian¡¨
I want to look at three issues.
1. SHOULD CHRISTIANS CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS?
Some suggest that there are several reasons why a Christian should have nothing to do with the modern celebration of Christmas.
First, some say that a Christian should have
nothing to do with the modern celebration of Christmas, because of the name of the holiday, Christmas. The very name Christmas is offensive to some because the name is derived from the combination of two words, ¡§Christ¡¨ and ¡§mass¡¨. The word means ¡§the mass of Christ.¡¨ Some therefore are offended by what they think is an association with the Catholic Church. But the root mean does not in reality have anything to do with Catholicism it means ¡§Christ is sent.¡¨ It would seem that name accurate presents what the holiday is all about. In fact Galatians 4:4 says, ¡§But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son¡K¡¨
Secondly, some say that a Christian should have nothing to do with the modern celebration of Christmas, because of the commercialization of the observance. There can no doubt that the world abuses Christmas. But the abuse of others does not mean that the Christian should abandon a reverent celebration of Christmas.
Third, some say that a Christian should have
nothing to do with the modern celebration of Christmas, because of use of Xmas as an abbreviation for Christmas. Some would maintain that the use of the abbreviation leaves Christ out of Christmas. But in fact the abbreviation is not a modern attempt to leave Christ out of Christmas, although some may use it as such. The first use of the abbreviation can be traced back to 1551. The X in Xmas is not the letter X in the English alphabet it is symbol ƒ³ (chi) of the Greek alphabet (although almost indistinguishable to the eye in print). The Greek letter Chi is the first letter in the Greek word Christos or Christ and has been used down through the centuries as an abbreviation for Christ.