Who is Christmas for, Anyway?

IMG_8743Lots of retailers make a lot of money from Christmas sales. Major corporations enjoy record profits year after year at Christmastime. Marketers, delivery companies and small businesses count on big sales during the holidays to boost their profits and add to their bottom line.

But is this who Christmas is really for?

We have a problem with the commercialization of Christmas. For too many, the holy season has simply become a money maker. We tire of the incessant commercials, the pushy salespeople and the “special holiday offers.” If we’re not careful, we can develop a bad attitude about the season because so many are corrupting the true meaning of Christmas; Let’s not do that!

Let’s remember who Christmas is for:

Christmas is for children: The little boys and girls of the world who simply embrace the excitement of the holiday.

Christmas is for Christians: the Christ-followers around the world who humbly celebrate the birth of their Lord, Savior and soon-coming King!

Christmas is for families: though perhaps spread across the miles, they hope to be together to share special moments and memories.

But…

Christmas is also for the lonely: those who have no one during the holiday.

Christmas is for the hurting: those who are in physical, emotional or relational pain.

Christmas is for the bound and addicted: those who have no concept of freedom.

Christmas is for the hard-hearted: those who have been so hurt, they refuse to trust again.

Christmas is for the doubters: those who refuse to believe.

Christmas is for the rebellious: those who feel the need to run from God.

Christmas is for the lost: those who just can’t find their way through this dangerous world.

Christmas is for sinners: those who have yet to accept Christ as their Savior and Lord.

Christmas is for those who need Good News!: Those who are tired of the ugliness and sin of this world.

Christmas is even for those who miss the point entirely (they think it’s about making money): God doesn’t give up on them, we shouldn’t either.

God gave His Son, Jesus Christ, as the Way, the only Way to salvation.   

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) These words, spoken by an angel to Joseph, speak to us about the eternal Good News of the birth of Jesus. Jesus came to preach the Gospel (Good News) to all people! This means that Christmas is for everyone! Christmas is Good News for all of us!

This Good News of Christmas triumphs over the bad news. This Good News of Christmas heals the brokenhearted. This Good News of Christmas brings families back together. This Good News of Christmas comforts the lonely. This Good News of Christmas brings hope to the hopeless, joy to the sad, and the promise of a better future to a world that desperately needs it.

But it is not the presents, the money-spending, the holiday stress that brings what we need.

The love that God displays at Christmas is what makes Christmas belong to all of us.  

 Merry Christmas to you. We love you, thank God for you and pray that this Christmas season will be especially blessed!

 

 

The Fight against Widow Burning

sati-mitul-vyasSati, an ancient Hindu custom practiced in parts of India until 1829, was the focus of William Carey, Christian missionary. In this practice, a recently widowed woman would immolate herself (burn herself alive) on her husband’s funeral pyre.  We are appalled at such a practice.

Carey, a preacher and social reformist battled the ancient custom, seeking respect and fair treatment of these marginalized women. They had no choice in the custom. It was Carey’s relentless 25 year war against Sati which finally led to the famous Edict in 1829 banning widow burning.

A few critics condemned Carey for entangling himself in cultural issues. He was denounced by some Christians for spending time doing anything other than preaching the Gospel. But Carey stood for justice and God’s Word in regard to the treatment of women. Thankfully, he had an impact.

There are issues in our American culture that, in my opinion, scream for our focus, as much as Sati did for Carey. There are societal matters that have become political – but at the root they are basic human justice issues. One such example is abortion.

While some believe that abortion is taboo for public discussion, I believe that a battle must ensue. In the spirit of William Carey, those who believe in justice for all people must begin to speak out and act out on behalf of these marginalized people. Too many babies have been killed and too many mothers have been destroyed. Taking the life of an innocent child may be acceptable in our society, but it is an atrocity that must be addressed – and stopped.

Hopefully, one day, people will hear of our custom of killing babies and be appalled. Hopefully, this atrocity will end.