We are all familiar with Bing Crosby's Song, "White Christmas". Listen to these words.
"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten,
and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white."
We cannot do anything to guarantee a white Christmas, but this year, I'm dreaming of a "Right Christmas." What if someone who never heard of Christmas came to our country, what would they think the meaning of Christmas is?
Think about it. Based on what they saw and heard what would they think Christmas is all about?
They might think it's all about Santa Claus. After all, everywhere you turn, Santa is there. He is in front of every department store, he is taking pictures with the kids at the mall and is featured in many television programs. His face adorns greeting cards, ornaments and tons of decorations. Santa is found in the yards of people everywhere, on their doors, in their homes and prominently displayed on their trees. If this visitor didn't know any better, he would almost certainly conclude that Christmas is about St. Nick, Kris Kringle...Santa Claus.
If this visitor dug just a little bit deeper and somehow made his way through all of the glitz of tinsel and the blinking lights and all of the bright decorations, if he somehow got past Santa Claus, he would probably say that Christmas, in its purest sense, is about giving. After all, he sees people scrambling frantically around trying to find the perfect gift for those on their list. The message is loud and clear, "Only 14 shopping days before Christmas." There are Christmas parties everywhere, with an exchange of gifts highlighting most all of them. Yes, this must be the real meaning of Christmas, a spirit of giving.
Friends, Christmas isn't about Santa Claus. And, even though the greatest gift ever given was delivered on Christmas Day some 2,000 years ago, Christmas really isn't about giving.
Christmas is about love. The Love of God. You see, God didn't send the baby Jesus to be born into this world because He wanted to start a time honored tradition. He didn't become flesh and dwell among men because He decided it would be neat to give us a gift in Christ. God sent His Son to die a cruel death at Calvary because you and I needed a Savior. God sent Jesus out of the deepest, purest, most perfect love, to pay the debt that we could not pay.
Every year, at Christmas time, we turn in our Bibles and read the Christmas story. But, I submit to you, the real Christmas story is found not in the accounts of Christ's birth. The real Christmas story is found in John Chapter 3, specifically in verse 16. Want to know the real meaning of Christmas? "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Christmas is simply the day that God poured out His love on you and me.
Will you take that love, will you receive God's forgiveness and experience Salvation? He has given a personal invitation to all, "whosoever." In order to have a right Christmas, we must have Love, Christ was given to us out of God's love.
Today we cannot put a nativity scene in certain locations because it may offend someone, we are told to say, "Happy Holidays," instead of "Merry Christmas!" Well may I tell you that in order to have a right Christmas, we must get back to the basics of what Christmas is all about!
How will you respond? As you gather with your family around your Christmas tree, will you remember the greatest gift of all that was given under the tree at Calvary? I cannot guarantee you can have a white Christmas, but you will have a Right Christmas if you receive this gift. Merry Christmas!
("From the Pulpit" is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)