Merry Christmas! There—I said it. No Happy Holidays. No Merry X-Mas. No Season’s Greetings. In just a few short weeks “the most wonderful time of the year” will be here, so let me say it clearly—I love the Christmas season and I believe that the “Christmas spirit” is inside all of us—God- ordained. Not the unsaved world’s version of Christmas of course—materialism and the like, but the knowledge that the Savior of the world was born to offer us a marvelous plan of redemption.
I love Christmas family traditions and plan to put a beautiful, God-made wreath on my front door. Our family will be decorating a God-made evergreen tree in our family room and we’ll enjoy trimming the tree together with old Christmas memories and new ones. I’ll be shopping for unique gifts for the special people in my life and I’ll enjoy the smiles on their faces when they open them and then share their Christmas gifts with me.
Now I’m sure there are a few readers who will disagree with my perspective. Bob, don’t you know you’re celebrating a pagan holiday with those ancient pagan traditions? Haven’t you read the OT verse that talks about making an idol from a tree and decorating it? How does exchanging gifts celebrate the true meaning of Christmas? And that Santa Claus guy? He’s turned Godly parents into a bunch of deceivers. C’mon, just transpose the letters in his name. Santa actually is just another way to spell Satan!
Truthfully, I never paid much attention to these anti-Christmas sentiments. But some time ago a couple of ministry friends began to take a hostile approach towards Christmas and began to use Christmas (and Easter) celebrations to highlight the failures of the church, insinuating some sort of pagan infiltration. I was made to feel almost spiritually rebellious, accused of embracing “sacred cows.”
So, when Bodie Hodge’s new book appeared on my desk, The War on Christmas, I was eager to get to the bottom of this dilemma. Was I celebrating something that offends the Lord? When I stand up on Christmas morning to sing Silent Night, or on Easter Sunday morning to sing Christ the Lord is Risen Today, is Satan standing up fist-pumping his demons shouting, “they’re celebrating my special day!” Hardly. I think he knows his fate and hates the fact that churches are filled with Christians on these special days, praising the Lord for His glorious birth and resurrection.
If the angels praised God in the heavens at Christ’s birth, likely singing and shouting for joy, that’s good enough for me. Why wouldn’t we want to join in, celebrating the most important birthday in world history? After all, history is His-Story and the Holiday season should rightfully be called the Holy- Day season!
The truth is, there are many misconceptions and half-truths in the Christmas debate. The War on Christmas is going to take you through these controversial issues in 23 fascinating chapters. Everywhere we turn there’s another blind-sided attack on this special day—Happy Holidays greetings— advertising signs promoting Xmas—even the elimination of Christ-based Christmas carols in favor of Winter Wonderland, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Even public nativity scenes are becoming off limits!
Why so anxious to take Christ out of Christmas? Of course the answer is obvious. Removing Christ from Christmas and watching it evolve into the secular day of materialism it has now become for many is another notch in Satan’s belt. He loves to take the events that bring joy to the Lord and turn them into something completely different.
Not only is he winning the battle with the lost, he’s convinced many Christians that this is a day with Satanic overtones! Seriously? Celebrating Christmas is wrong? Having one day out of the year where we turn our focus to the birth of the Savior is wrong? Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not condoning the world’s convoluted version of Christmas, the crass materialism, frantic spending sprees, drunken office parties and such . . . but having a day set aside to focus on the birth of Christ? Count me in.
Bodie is going to take you places you’ve likely never been before, clearing up many popular misconceptions. I saw a TV commercial yesterday claiming that the virgin birth was a biblical mis-translation! The author covers that subject from a manuscript perspective and weaves the complicated lives of Mary and Joseph into this supernatural event. Then he addresses in some detail the whole “pagan tradition” conundrum, sure to get your attention as he dismisses these historical arguments with the facts as he sees them. Was Jesus born on December 25th? Doubtful. But does it really matter?
The Star of Bethlehem makes the author’s list as well. Was it a “triple conjunction” of the planets, or was it a once-in-a-lifetime miracle from God? How about Santa Claus? Is he secretly a dyslexic Satan, or was he a historical figure, St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, a wealthy man who made it his life’s mission to give to the less fortunate in the 4th century?
Bodie delves into the critically important nature of the biblical genealogies, giving us the reason why Jesus was the offspring of the Holy Spirit and Mary, and not Joseph. He shares the whole story of the “Wise Men” and the popular misconception that they attended the birth of Christ. Then he uses recent archaeological discoveries to decipher the phrase “there was no room at the inn.” The stable and the manger may not meet our preconceived notions of that eventful night.
Where did the name Christ-mas come from anyway? Does it have Catholic traditions since it contains the word “mas?” Hardly. The word mas actually means “celebration.” A Christ-centered celebration seems to fit the bill perfectly. That’s what Christmas should be for us—a day to praise God for the gift of His Son.