Saturday, December 29, 2007

Call It "Christmas" ... That's What It Is ...

Christmas … there, I said it or rather I wrote it. Seemingly I neither hear nor see that word as much anymore as in years gone by. Since everyone does not believe in Christmas, it has become more prudent to steer clear of that “offensive” term.

Even though I am a Christian I do not believe that December 25th is Christ’s actual birth date. The reason is because no one knows the exact date he was born. I do believe that he was born and yes, I do believe he was born of a virgin. These are some of the important issues with me concerning his birth.

Our nation continues to observe the birth of Christ on December 25. The Spirit of love and giving is emphasized during this season. And I agree that Christmas has become too commercial. That’s what happens when mankind gets a hold of a good thing. But that another story for later.

The other day I was looking for a Christmas tree. Wasn’t planning to buy one, just looking around. There were no advertisements with the word, “Christmas.” The ads read, “Holiday Trees,” or Season’s Trees. Then there was one ad that simply read, “Trees.” I respected that ad more than the others.

There was another ad with Santa Clause holding a sign that read, “Season’s Greetings.” Even Santa could not bring himself to say, “Merry Christmas.” I realize there are other religions with their times of special observances. Some are even observing their special times during this month of December. But Christmas is the only observance that has a tree. So if someone is selling a Holiday Tree during December, it should be called a Christmas Tree. That’s what it is.

Advertisments have a great influence on our thinking. We are a nation of buy and sell, profit or loss, supply and demand. Christmas has become a commercial giant for retailers. This is OK in our free society. The problems develop when we get carried away with the business of making money. This leads to our forgetting the true meanings behind the Christmas story.

But it’s not just Christmas. Little by little we are seeing our true values being tucked away into the vault of yesteryear. Prayer in the schools. Controversies over the Pledge of Allegiance and bickering over the phrases on our currency and coin such as, “In God We Trust.” Can you believe that the greatest nation on earth founded upon a belief in God is gradually permitting the removal of God from society? In many a town, the Bible no longer can be displayed in the town square nor can there any longer be a manger scene on the front lawn of many a courthouse.

This I can say with all assurance. The nation that removes God from the lives of the people will suffer dire consequences. That nation will fall heavy and flat on her face. To put it plainly, the nation that rejects God will not long endure.
I was moved to think on these things from a poem written by Juanita McCaslin Dugger. You did not know Juanita. She was a dear sweet lady who held close the values of her dedicated Christian life. She saw the Christmas tree as symbolic of the cross Christ. A portion of her poem reads:

"A crown of thorns was upon His head
And blood from His side ran free,
Yet He gave His life to save the world
As He hung on that first Christmas tree."

Juanita Dugger passed from this life just two weeks ago but what a beautiful concept she left with us.

You see, it’s OK to let Christmas be Christmas. That’s what it is.

Winston Hamby
The Beaumont Enterprise


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