Who is the Heart of Your Christmas?
I wonder if you are like me. Every year it seems that the heart of the Christmas moves from a Baby to a bearded man. Not only is this man a commercial success; he truly has won the battle for the hearts and minds of Americans. Let me prove it to you. How many of you have struggled about whether to tell your children his story? Yet, how many of you have been disheartened when your children no longer believe the story?
When Caroline and I were blessed with our first child we quickly felt the pressure about what to teach him, and the struggle increased with more children. So in a culture so enamored by this man and so hostile to the message of this baby; certainly Christian parents must find a way to respond. Here are my thoughts.
FIRST, I am certain we cannot avoid Christmas becoming an increasingly devoted to this man’s gift giving. It has everything to do with the message our culture wants to hear. When was the last time you heard about coal and switches at Christmas? I would like to submit that our culture wants to focus on its materialistic desires.
SECOND, I am fairly certain that even when we have the Baby at the heart of our Christmas, non-Christians and carnal Christians will avoid his story. Why? The Baby’s very presence admits that there is a problem between man and God. He came to be our peace, which means we are at war with God. He came to be a Savior, which means we need to be saved. The Baby’s nativity demands see ourselves as bad and the Baby as good: to a non-Christians this is unthinkable, and to a carnal Christian this is uncomfortable.
THIRD, Our children, with sinful hearts will naturally focus on the story of this man with reindeer; however all is not lost. As parents we have the opportunity to highlight truth (John 8:31-32) and celebrate it. Caroline and I realized we could not avoid this man, so we decided to focus on the true Saint Nicholas. This fourth century bishop in Myra (Turkey) gave his great wealth away to the needy so that he could enter the ministry. His faith and generosity was inspired by his repentance of sin and trust in the baby Jesus who came to be our Savior. Then for years he gave his life to serving his church family giving the Good News to all who had spiritual need.
After Nicholas died, on the anniversary of his death in December people continued to give gifts to remember his faith. We can do the same. In our home at Christmas we make sure our gift to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is a major part of our celebration. This gift goes to share the Gospel for which Nicolas and countless others have given their all. Even more so it makes sure the Baby is the Heart of our Christmas.