Why Do You Say Merry Christmas?

December 14, 2017

Why do you say, “Merry Christmas”?

  • Some celebrate their family;
  • Some celebrate their cultural or family traditions: What they do on Christmas Eve or morning;
  • Some celebrate gift-giving, especially Santa Claus;
  • Some celebrate the winter season: snow and sleighs and Jack Frost nipping at your nose.

Indeed, the song containing that line, modestly entitled “The Christmas Song,” is a good example of all these:

  • “Jack Frost,” celebrating winter;
  • “Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow,” for family;
  • “Yuletide carols being sung by a choir . . . turkey and some mistletoe,” for tradition;
  • ‘They know that Santa’s on his way; he’s bringing lots of toys and goodies,” for gift-giving.

But “The Christmas Song” makes not one mention of Jesus Christ. And although the song ends with the words, “Merry Christmas to you,” it might as well end with “Happy Holidays.”

Celebrating family, traditions, gift-giving, and winter are not bad in and of themselves; on the contrary, all are good.

But for those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior, for those who see Jesus as the greatest Treasure, Christmas should primarily be a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Why? Because He is the One responsible for all the good we receive; He is the One to Whom all those goods point.

  • He gives us our true, eternal, perfect family (Romans 8:15-17).
  • He gives us our deepest traditions, pointing to the most significant underlying realities (Matthew 26:26-29, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
  • He Himself is the greatest gift imaginable: He is the reason we receive any good and perfect gift, the one who sacrificed Himself so that we might have the gift of faith and righteousness and reconciliation with God the Father (2 Corinthians 9:15, James 1:17, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 3:21-25, Romans 6:23).
  • All things – including seasons – were created through Him and for Him (Colossians 1:15-16).

Imagine that today is your birthday. Imagine all sorts of people come to a party on your birthday. And at that party they celebrate their families. They celebrate winter: snow and sleighs and snowmen. They celebrate with birthday cakes and candles and games. Furthermore, they give many gifts to each other. But they ignore you. They don’t look at you. They don’t speak to you. They give no gifts to you. There is no indication that this is your birthday.

What would you think of that?

That’s what many do with Christmas – Jesus becomes at most a minor part of a seasonal celebration, whether we say, “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.”

Don’t let that happen this year. Remember who Jesus is.

  • Remember why Immanuel, God with us, had to come as that baby in the manger.
  • Remember how He lived, loving God with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength, loving each person He encountered as He loved Himself.
  • Remember Him sacrificing Himself on the cross so that you might be reconciled to God the Father through Him.
  • Remember Him risen, reigning, and returning so that the kingdom of this world becomes His Kingdom, and He reigns forever and ever (Revelation 11:15).
  • Remember God the Father wiping every tear from your eyes; remember the coming time when there will be no more sorrow nor crying nor pain, because of His work (Revelation 21:4).

So by all means, shout out, “Merry Christmas!” By all means, celebrate family and traditions and winter; give gracious and thoughtful gifts to one another.

But this year may we clearly show that all these good gifts come to us only because Jesus was born of Mary two thousand years ago. May He be our greatest joy. May we praise Him – and may we thank God with all our heart for His indescribable gift.

 

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