(December 17, 2020) Robert and Maureen McQuillan remind readers of the real reason for the season – lost people needing to be found!
For decades, the jovial fat man dressed in red has replaced the advent of our Saviour Jesus as the central focus of Christmas. Christmas became ‘Xmas’ – as if Christ has been cancelled out and without meaning. Generally, people have always regarded Christmas as a special time of family, fun, food, cards and presents… but the birth of Jesus is still central for Bible-believers!
We ourselves particularly recall some Christmases as special and precious…
- Weeks of carols played in shops and expressions of genuine well wishes for Christmas.
- Christmas Day mornings back home awakening early to faithful carol singers from a local church gathering in the snow under a streetlight and warmly heralding the birth of Jesus.
- Then the traditional gleeful opening of presents and the excitement following.
- Soon we’d be hurrying off to early church for a down-to-earth service that highlighted the arrival
of the Saviour of the world who came to bring peace to earth.
- The Christmas Day luncheon and family fun together.
- And, most especially, that best Christmas Day morn of all when our beautiful darlin’ daughter Wendy was born!
We’ve always been a little different from a lot of other families …we never deceived our kids, neither Wendy or Stuart, by perpetuating the Christmas myth of Santa coming down the chimney with gifts, that it was their parents who caringly and lovingly provided special presents, and that while Christmas was a family time it is meant to be one of thanking God for his great gift of the Saviour, Jesus.
The result is that they’ve always known that they could fully trust us in everything we’d say or tell them.
We went out of our way to make sure that they enjoyed themselves and had presents and fun at Christmas time. But we also ensured that they would never catch us out in any lie or deceit. They knew what the meaning of ‘the real reason for the season is Jesus Christ’ is all about … that even though one can’t ‘see’ the Saviour, he is real, can be believed in and fully trusted.
Living a life of faith and trust in Jesus all year round gave them an example that would help lead them to making their own decision to trust him.
But we also took them to see Santa in stores so that they didn’t miss out, even if it meant sacrificing personally! They knew in their hearts it was all a fun and family time. We even repeatedly enjoyed together that old classic Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn and little Natalie Wood Christmas movie, Miracle on 34th Street, played on TV year after year back then.
Christmas is not all about gift-giving, holidaying, food, and fun. Nor is it about spectacular musical church productions. Nor about arguing, as some Christians do, that Jesus wasn’t born on December 24 as no one really knows when he was, therefore church leaders are deceiving attenders.
It’s about celebrating the fact that Jesus came at all! He didn’t have to! God could have wiped out humankind because of our sins – as he threatened Moses he’d do and create a new generation who’d obey him and honour his commands (Deuteronomy 9:14).
Praise God for the incarnation of Jesus (Isaiah 9:6, Luke 2:14)! Through the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb, the second person of the trinity willingly came to earth as a human to become our Saviour at Calvary, to rescue a lost world from sin’s penalty and from Satan’s power, to show God’s love, Father heart and compassion. We call it grace!
And we also passed this knowledge of the truth of Christmas onto our granddaughter, Bonnie-Jane. That the central meaning of Christmas is that Jesus came to save sinners through the John 3:16 salvation he offers, that he is the greatest ‘Christmas gift’ of all.
Kids pick up on things we share when they’re young. We will never forget the Christmas we took our delightfully happy and pleasant little granddaughter, then only five, to see Santa in a big Myer store. Her eyes were popping wide at the colorful decorations and she was enjoying the carol music. But Santa, it seemed, was missing, nowhere to be found.
Then the music stopped abruptly and above the noise of busy chattering shoppers, a serious-sounding message was heard on the store tannoy…’Calling Santa, calling Santa Claus… we can’t find you, where are you, Santa?’
Although Bonnie-Jane didn’t say anything her expression indicated she was concerned. Just then, as we were passed an elevator, the doors swung opened and there was Santa in full flowing beard and red gear.
Suddenly spotting him, little Bonnie let go off our hands, instantly rushed over to him through the crowd, grabbing his legs, and hugging the plump jovial figure close exclaimed, ‘I found you, Santa. You were lost but I found you, I saved you!’ Smiles all round by engrossed customers!
What does the Bible say about ‘out of the mouths of babes’…? (Matthew 11:25; Psalm 8:2). It’s our joy to know that today, now a delightful young lady sensitive to the Holy Spirit, Bonnie-Jane – now married to a great young man and expecting her own first baby – allows the Spirit to lead her to people with needs.
In pre-covid19 years several stores around the world would run unexpected lively ‘true Christmas’ events. We particularly love this one hosting Christian carols and songs really centring on the birth of Christ the Saviour, encouraging shoppers to join in the gospel message and wrapping up with a Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus centrepiece that had people bowing in respect and warmly chapping hands. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7baFMmSv4k.
May we too joyfully thank God for…
- The heavenly gift of his Son, Jesus!
- Biblical recounting of his birth such as in the gospels of Matthew and Luke.
- Churches and schools willing to highlight Christmas message truth when enemy forces are trying to ban Christ-centred Christmas seasons.
Many nations are still in a real mess today – sin is still the major problem and only the Saviour has the answer. We trust that Christians will not be self-centred this Christmas but be caring and praying for the unsaved.
Oh… back to Bonnie-Jane. The point is that even the Santas of this world need saving!
Here’s a precious image we found in one store depicting the world’s Christmas centrepiece acknowledging God’s centrepiece!
May everyone get it right this Christmas! Let’s witness Christ!
Link: Robert and Maureen’s Rejoicing-Show-me-the-Way-God