Monthly Archives: December 2017
Posted by Marcy
A young girl who helped me decorate for Christmas this year told me her dad doesn’t allow Christmas decorating at their house. He says that Americans get all involved in the show, but don’t think about what Christmas is really all about. All too often, I see his point of view.
Although I am acquainted with some Scrooge-like personalities, I personally love the season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day – Christmas being my absolute favorite holiday of the year. I love to decorate house and tree with things that carry memories of people and places of my life. I could write a history based on my collection of decoration items – antique ornaments from my parents’ Christmas collection, gift ornaments from friends and children I’ve worked with in youth groups over the years; home-made and store-bought – many with personal meaning.
My husband and I enjoy a night-time drive during Christmas time to enjoy the creative light displays. I enjoy the warmth of the season, sharing smiles with other shoppers, Christmas music in stores and on street corners. But often I come home with a feeling of “something is missing”.
There is a home-owner on our street who every year does a 1/4 acre Christmas light display, which was featured on our local NH network TV news show. The display is complete with Santas and sled, a minature helicopter, a ferris wheel, candy canes, carolers, and other entertaining light displays – you can even tune into music on the radio dial that the various displays are synchronized to – but amidst all the dazzling, flashing light images, not one image relates to the birth of Christ.
I have attended Christmas shows, tree lighting events, school concerts, etc. over the years – both indoor and outdoor events -but often in recent years I have gone away feeling that something was missing.
Often the children sang or played “Christmas songs”, however, not one song even hinted at the real meaning of Christmas – no old standards such as “Silent Night”, “Away in a Manger”, “Oh, Come All Ye Faithful” or “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” – nothing except Santa songs or the old standards like “White Christmas”, “Jingle Bells” or “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. Most often kids today don’t even know the lyrics or melodies to traditional Christmas caroles.
I can’t listen to “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” without thinking of how misplaced Christmas awe and worship is in the secular culture today. It’s Santa who is reverenced during the Christmas season, not Christ.
Young children very often don’t realize that Santa is really dad, or mom, or granddad. They see Santa as a magical, mystical figure who watches them daily, or has an army of elves who spy for him, or an “elf on the shelf” . . . sort of like . . . God and His angels – only not. Which results in being good not to please and be obedient to parents, but to get things they want from Santa.
Many, if not most of todays kids don’t know that there is someone else, someone very real, who is watching them – or should I say watching over them; someone who knows they can’t be good enough to deserve the gifts He has for them, yet He keeps on giving.
We have generations of children who are growing up celebrating Christmas year after year, never being taught that the origin of Christmas is the birth of God’s Son, come to earth in the body of a baby – Immanuel “God with us” – fulfilling more than 300 Old Testament prophecies, made hundreds of years before his birth. They don’t know that this baby, who was named Jesus, came to let us know what God is like; or that this baby grew up to die on a cross as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Some of these inadequately informed children are being raised in “Christian” homes – so called.
I’ve written a 4-part series of blog posts entitled “Christmas Traditions that Teach Our Children”, which you can access from the link above. I would like to encourage you to check out these posts for suggestions to help you teach your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or other children in your life the real meaning of Christmas.
If you also feel something is missing in your own celebration of Christmas, I trust that these posts will remind you of where you and your family should focus during Christmas season, and give you a plan of action for future Christmases.
May God bless you as you seek to enter the real spirit of Christmas during this holy season.
©2013, Marcy Alves edited 2015