On a late summer outing to Ocean City, NJ, my wife and I spent the evening on the boardwalk. One of our stops was Mia’s Christmas Gallery, a store loaded with practically anything to do with Christmas. A very nice place. It was hard not to notice the nice atmosphere, and that the customers all seemed to be relaxed and in a good humor. Christmas does that to people. Of course I had no way of knowing who in the store had a true interest in Christmas as the celebration of Christ’s birth, and who saw Christmas as just a nice holiday. But that is just the point…regardless of their true relationship to the whole concept, they were all pleasantly affected by the Christmas atmosphere.
All this got me THINKING. How often we condemn the “commercialization of Christmas”. How often we lament that society is going through the motions of Christmas while missing the message and reality of the Christ Child. The concern is legitimate. There is, though, another side to this story, and that side is the power and majesty of the Savior who was born on the day that we celebrate at Christmas time. It’s wonderful for those who truly know and love Jesus Christ to set aside time to celebrate His incarnation with all its miraculous and profound meaning. But just for a minute, set aside your distaste for all the Christmas hoopla, and see the power of Christ at work.
It’s one thing for those who know and love Christ to enjoy a celebration of His birth. How could we not be awed by this profound miracle, this incomparable plan by God to redeem His creation and bring into fellowship those whom He loves? But look around at Christmas, and you see countless millions of individual actions taking place…purposefully or not, knowingly or not…that commemorate the birth of the Savior. That is power unequaled by any figure in history.
So, Christian, let’s not defend commercialization of Christmas. But let’s not allow it to spoil our yuletide joy, and marvel at the prospect that two millennia after Christ’s birth, the whole world practically stops for a day or two, millions of people act a little kinder, and that you can celebrate God’s wonderful gift amidst the beauty of the season.
“…I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”
Jesus, Luke 19:40
“Strings of street lights Even stop lights Blink a bright red and green
As the shoppers rush home with their treasures
Hear the snow crunch See the kids bunch This is Santa’s big scene And above all this bustle You’ll hear:
Silver bells silver bells It’s Christmas time in the city Ring a ling, hear them ring Soon it will be Christmas day”
“Silver Bells”, Jay Livingston & Ray Evans
© Paramount Music Corp
“Silver Bells” is not exactly a Biblical Christmas carol, yet it gets at the truth that God will use His creation to glorify Himself. So this Christmas, let the customs and the festivities remind you of the real and meaningful truths of Christ’s incarnation. And on Christmas Eve when the whole world practically stops for a brief time, marvel at the profound effect of His birth on human history.
And, by the way, if you’d like to read about a more overtly biblical Christmas carol, gohere.
~ Jim Mogel