Have We Forgotten That First Christmas?
Jay Leno had a segment on The Tonight Show several years ago when he was the host. The segment was called "Jaywalking" and he would ask everyday Americans some basic questions and the responses were rather astounding at times. It made for a fun comedy bit and also a reality check on how our republic had slipped to new lows in common sense and intelligence on numerous topics. One wonders if you asked everyday Americans about that first Christmas what kind of replies you would receive. My guess is it would be highly entertaining and enlightening no doubt. A recent Pew Research Center poll found 46% of Americans say they celebrate Christmas as primarily a religious (rather than cultural) holiday. That is down from 51% just four years ago. Even more interesting, 56% of American adults say religious aspects of Christmas are emphasized less in American society today than in the past, though relatively few are bothered by this trend.
Just for a refresher, Santa Claus wasn't at the first Christmas. Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Dasher, Rudolph, and the rest of the reindeer weren't there either. Neither was Hermey the elf or Yukon Cornelius. The Grinch who stole Christmas wasn't around Bethlehem that night causing mischief. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Peppermint Patty, and Lucy weren't in the neighborhood hitching a ride with the Three Wise Men. No doubt some might be confused and dumbfounded by now. Surely, I am mistaken?
That first Christmas in Bethlehem was a holy night filled with more magic and joy than one could write in the most extraordinary Hollywood screenplay. God gave the Virgin Mary a blessed child to bear and a child like no other at that. This baby boy was not only a precious gift to Joseph and Mary but also a gift to all of us. The baby born in the manger in Bethlehem that first Christmas was our Savior, Christ Jesus. He is the reason for the season. Without Christ, there can be no Christmas.
Most just get a Christmas tree and decorate it not knowing the real meaning and symbolism of it. The lights on the tree symbolize Jesus as the "Light of the world". The star atop the tree represents the Star of Bethlehem that shined brightly that night above the manger. The evergreen tree itself symbolizes the Tree of Life. The gold decorations represent the Kingship of Jesus. Yes, each decoration and the tree itself have deep meaning that have been lost on most in our current day.
Christmas has become about getting instead of giving. It has become dominated by the world's vision and view and less and less about Christ and that manger in Bethlehem. The world has no reason to promote Christ and never has. The world will always choose worldly possessions and worldly images to push out Christian holy days. To be fair, Christians have allowed this trend to continue and need to take responsibility for their lack of fervor in keeping that first Christmas alive. Political correctness has been the tool the world has effectively used to get God and Christ and Christmas out of sight and mind. We live in a republic where moral relativism is the prevailing theme. Everything and anything goes and there is no right or wrong. No absolutes. But there is one absolute truth that needs to be noted whether the world and Americans choose to ignore it or not. That baby wrapped in swaddling blankets on that first Christmas night is the truth and the light. For those who are in darkness and despair, seek that baby for peace and understanding. For darkness is just the absence of light. The absence of Christ. Seek Him and remember Him this Christmas. Make this Christmas a real celebration of that baby in Bethlehem and less a celebration of all that the world deems worthy to celebrate. Yes, many have forgotten that first Christmas but my hope and prayer is that each one of you who reads this piece will find yourself in tear-filled joy this Christmas remembering why we celebrate this great birthday.