"I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35
This is the first Christmas whereby I’ve experienced awkwardness with business owners and staff members that I have come into contact with. What the world received this year as a means of eliminating Christ out of Christmas, has affected me in a most profound way.
Momentarily, I had allowed this hiccup in my usual Christ-filled Christmas, to infiltrate and ultimately affect my response toward others. More than once, I caught myself NOT saying “Merry Christmas” and instead, I chose the path of least resistance and remained silent. This response is precisely what Satan wants. After this phenomenon happened twice, I asked God to forgive my ignorance and I resolved myself to be actively keeping Christ in Christmas regardless of the "Happy Holiday" retort.
As individuals, Christians can keep Christ in Christmas in a number of simple, yet influential ways.
1. Support businesses which acknowledge the religious heritage of Christmas. Let the owner know you appreciate his willingness to recognize a Christian perspective. Also, be sure to respectfully voice your opinion to store owners who shun religious Christmas material. I compiled a list of all the businesses that chose to eliminate Christmas from their advertising and store fronts. I then researched who the CEO of each company were and personally wrote them a letter. Every company has written me a reply thus far. Were you aware, that before Costco received a noticeable amount of negative responses to their lack of representing Christmas in their stores, they had chosen to follow the majority and placed an emphasis on “Happy Holidays?” After shoppers complained enough to gain the attention of Costco’s decision makers, Christmas returned to their stores – Praise God!
2. Display a nativity scene in front of your home or church. Return to the tradition of uplifting the Saviour this season, instead of following popular social trends.
3. Read the Christmas story to your children and sing carols with your family. Do not let the season pass without your children being fully aware of God's greatest gift to mankind.
4. Daily wish people you meet a “Merry Christmas”. Show respect for those whose beliefs differ, but do not be afraid to share your own faith – especially during the season in which we so markedly remember the Saviour.
5. Send Christmas cards with a religious message and consider including a Salvation message.
6. Use this Christmas as an opportunity to reach out and evangelize your community. Volunteer with your church or other group to help those in need by providing food, clothing, or other necessities. This season of giving and receiving is the perfect time to demonstrate to your children that it is truly “more blessed to give than to receive.”
These words, quoted by Paul, are not found in any one of the four Gospels, but are none the less genuine. Giving secures more real happiness than receiving, and besides, it is Godlike and blesses forever.
This year, we have made a conscious choice to serve 500-sailors Christmas dinner. These sailors are far away from home and any pleasantries that are taken so much for granted. After four-years, I still feel the sting of not being with my daughters during this blessed season. Rather than focusing on this, I asked my husband if we could bring joy into the lives of others who would otherwise feel a greater hurt from a Christmas alone.
We will leave our home at 5am on Christmas morning, and my husband will drive a bus to the Great Lakes Naval base in Chicago. From there, we will join the other buses that will shuttle these sailors back to our food-filled, festively adorned gymnasium that awaits them on one of our Church properties.
They will eat to their hearts content, play games, and listen to some good old-fashioned gospel preaching. Then, we will load 500-sailors back onto the buses, and head back to Chicago. It will be close to midnight before we arrive to our car and point it toward home; no time to focus on me, and definitely no excess energy for my own sorrow.
My girls will be very much in my heart, but there’s a pause on the pity-party this year.
When God makes a note of the souls that will trust Him this Christmas, I will have had a part in someone else receiving the gospel, my husband will have had a part, and our son will be in the most privileged and blessed position - learning to imitate the example of Christ. I could not think of a greater gift this Christmas – could you?
Merry Christmas Caleb!
I Love You,