The latest report that was heard on the Christmas shopping activity is that to the surprise of many it was up. The post-Thanksgiving shopping in this year of 2000 surpassed what the merchants expected. Reports are that toy sales increased. This means that many children will have a “good” Christmas. We hope so.
The promotion of Christmas according to the world’s standard, the standard by which many people judge what is a “good” Christmas is quite easy. One does not have to teach children in this regard. They absorb the ads on TV. They listen to the tales of Santa Claus. They make their Christmas lists. They walk through the toy stores and the malls. They absorb Christmas by osmosis. Sadly, that is the most that many children know about Christmas, or at least the most they remember. Well-meaning adults who ask, “Did you have a good Christmas,” reinforce this when they ask, ” What did Santa Claus bring you?”
We lo at Christmas in a different manner. We start from the premise that there would be no Christmas, no “Christ-festival” if there had been no Christ. The world, while giving lip service to Christ, in fact uses the birth of Christ to serve its own purpose. The achieved result is that the blessing of Christmas is lost, because the Christ of Christmas has been diminished.
The real meaning of Christmas is not absorbed. It is found in Scripture. It is taught!
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14,15). “I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also” (2 Timothy 1:3-5).
It falls primarily upon the parents to teach their children. This responsibility secondarily belongs to the church as assistant to the parents in loing after the spiritual welfare of children. Children need to have a clear understanding of sin. Without sin and its condemnation there would have been no need for Jesus to come into the flesh. The instruction of children will include the teaching of Old Testament prophecy, namely that in the Old Testament the Heavenly Father prophesied through the prophets about Jesus Christ. Children are to be taught who Jesus is. He is true God become Man to be our Savior. “Savior” is the meaning of the name, Jesus. They need to know that life on earth is passing, and that the real life is in heaven. Jesus is the only way to heaven, as Scripture clearly teaches. Children need to be taught of the love of God, and how the epitome of this love was the sending of Jesus Christ into the world so that when toys are bren, clothes are outgrown, games are over, and life on earth is past and gone, trusting in Jesus they may enter into life everlasting.
All the trappings and giving of Christmas will come home to haunt those parents who have not taught their children what Christmas really is. What will be the response of parents to those children who naturally like to ask why? What will they say when on judgment day the child asks, “Why did you not teach us what Christmas was really about? Why did you not lead us to Jesus, and teach us the Gospel?”
The Gospel and the message of Christmas, “Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior” (Luke 2:11), is not absorbed. It is taught. The Word confirms what is taught from the Word. Therefore let your Christmas be first of all built around the Word. Then it will be a good Christmas. Without the Word, a good Christmas is not the best.