Updated on February 5, 2012
Christmas Is Just Presents?
Every so often I stumble across an article that really saddens me. In a story about the decline in celebrating Kwanzaa, there appeared the following quote.
“My mother, she was very hard on trying to make us celebrate Kwanzaa. She felt that it was more important than Christmas,” Howard student NAME REDACTED told The Root. “Kwanzaa has more definition of life — Christmas is just presents.“
I hid the student’s name because my intent is not to ridicule. Frankly, I’m ambivalent about Kwanzaa. I have no cultural ties to Africa or the holiday. And I’m in no way harmed by anyone participating in a personal, family or community organized Kwanzaa celebration.
I would however have concerns about a school forcing all students to participate in Kwanzaa activities because of the subtle Marxist message and the fact that most faith-based celebrations are banned from public schools. If you exclude Christianity, atheism, humanism, relativism and all the rest of the “isms” need to go as well.
The real reason for this post was the comment made by the student, mainly, that Christmas was just presents. In a sad way, there is some truth in that statement. The forces of darkness have been undermining the message of Christmas for over 2,000 years. Government has chased all mention of Christmas from schools and the PC Nazis have almost made it a crime to even say “Merry Christmas”. Watch any “holiday” special during the Christmas season and you would find yourself wondering what exactly we celebrate on December 25th.
On Christmas, Christians celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Although the actual birth most likely occurred in September, interestingly, conception may have happened in late December. There is no doubt that Jesus was a historical figure, even the most rabid atheists would not deny his historical existence. But why do we celebrate this otherwise insignificant birth in the dusty town of Bethlehem? We need to take a trip back to the very beginning to see the full story.
The pinnacle of all of God’s creation was man and woman, Adam and Eve. Love creates and God is love. Love also needs fellowship. And when God created mankind in His own image and gave them dominion over the Earth, He wanted to experience and share life with them as any loving parent would with their children as they spread the garden to the entire universe.
He wanted their love in return, but could not force them to love Him. They had a choice to trust Him and enjoy that close relationship, or disobey. Unfortunately, they chose poorly. The moment of disobedience, they spiritually died. The life that flowed from God to them was cut off. The glory that clothed them was gone and they were left naked and afraid. And even worse, they gave Satan freedom to control the Earth and as a result, all mankind from then on had to fight to survive in a now very hostile place, reeling from the curse instead of enjoying God’s Blessing.
God had a plan to reconnect and reestablish fellowship with His children. It was a brilliantly simple plan. He would send Himself, Jesus, the Son of God into the world as a man. He would be created by God’s Word placed in the womb of a virgin. He would be like Adam before the fall, perfect and without sin. He would obey and fulfill all the requirements of the Old Covenant and never sin. At the appropriate time, he would willingly die on the cross taking on all sin, sickness, poverty and death of every man that has, or will ever live. For three days he would suffer the punishment for all mankind in Hell. Once justice had been served, God would lift him up, set him at His right hand with all power and authority.
Since no man could ever pay the penalty for sin on his own, God made a way for all people to be righteous by simply believing in Jesus. The moment you believe in your heart and confess the name of Jesus, the Holy Spirit recreates your spirit and you are declared righteous and have all the privileges of a child of God. Every promise is yours. Every Blessing is yours. And the wisdom and fellowship with the Creator of the universe is restored. But it is still your choice. God cannot force you to accept His free gift of salvation.
John sums up very nicely the message of Christmas in John 3:16. God loves you so much that He gave Himself, love, to you. This is what separates Christianity from all the man-made religions. They all require work and sacrifice to obtain whatever reward is offered. Contrast that with the message of Christ. He has done it all for you. All you do is believe. God has done all the work for you. Christianity is about relationship and fellowship. You simply believe that Jesus died for you and you are spiritually reborn back into God’s family. No wonder the angels were so excited to announce the Good News to the shepherds.
Is Christmas just presents? A million times no. Christmas is the time we celebrate the greatest gift ever given to humanity – love. And I can’t imagine any holiday would have more “life” in it than the one celebrating the Creator of life and its Savior.