Today in the city of David there has been born for
you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
All around us, we see our culture at war with Christmas. In America today,the celebration of Christ’s birth has become more about a jolly old man in a red suit and piles of presents under the tree. An increasing number of cities forbid public displays of the Nativity, and some major stores even encourage their employees to say “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
I believe that the war against Christmas is real, but I also believe it’s part of an even larger war against Christianity that is being waged on many fronts around the world. I believe Satan is behind the war against Christmas and Christianity. Satan has been trying to extinguish the Christian message and the Christmas message since the beginning. It was Satan who inspired Herod, in Matthew 2, to try to kill all of the Hebrew children under the age of two in order to extinguish Christ’s life. It was Satan who tempted Jesus in the wilderness to try to disqualify Him as the Savior of the world. It was Satan who inspired the Pharisees to prematurely take the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. We shouldn’t be surprised that Satan will do everything he can to distract people’s attention from the real meaning of the Christmas season.
However, I have to say that I think the greatest threat to Christmas is not the secularists, and it’s not greedy merchants. The greatest threat to the power and message of Christmas is God’s own people. The fact is, most Christians have allowed ourselves to be distracted from the real meaning of Christmas. I’m reminded of that every few years, whenever Christmas falls on a Sunday. You wouldn’t believe the number of people—including deacons and church staff members—who ask me, “Pastor, are we going to have church on Sunday? After all, it’s Christmas.” There are churches all around this country that close down when Christmas happens to land on Sunday. “Well, Christmas is a family time,” they say.
But even those of us who would never think of canceling church on Sunday because it is Christmas are still in danger of allowing the trappings of this season to distract us from the real meaning of the Christmas holiday. And yes, I use the word “holiday” on purpose. That word “holiday” comes from an old English word that means “holy day.” In fact, the word “holiday,” or “holy day,” was used exclusively to refer to religious celebrations. Only recently has it come to be a generic term for any day of relaxation. Christmas really is a holy day. That word “holy” comes from a Hebrew word which means “to cut, to separate, to be different from.” And the reason Christmas is a holy day is because it represents the entrance into the world of the most holy, different, separate person who has ever lived—Jesus Christ. And that’s why I believe it is the holiest day of all. What is it that makes Christ truly holy? This week we will discover why Jesus is truly the holiest, the most different person who has ever walked the face of the earth.
Today’s devotion is an excerpt from “Have a Happy Holy-Day” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.