Recently, my little sons watched Santa Claus is Coming to Town, the classic Christmas claymation 1970 “cartoon” about the origin of Santa Claus. This rendition of the story of Santa features Bing Crosby providing the voice of the know-it-all mailman who tells the Santa story, complete with explanations of such things as why Santa wears his red suit, why he travels down fireplaces and puts goodies in children’s stockings, how/why the reindeer fly, why he lives at the North Pole and more. But perhaps of all the revelations, the one that stands out to me is the final one of the movie—why Santa chose Christmas Eve as the day he would deliver his toys to the children of the world. According to this children’s classic, the logical choice was to do so on the “holiest of days,” “the day of supreme love.”
Could it be that a mere 30 years ago it was commonplace to acknowledge the Savior behind the holidays? Another of our family’s holiday favorites is A Charlie Brown Christmas. Again, here we see Linus reading the Christmas story almost verbatim from Scripture during the children’s Christmas play at school—and, perhaps even more striking, the reading is done in response to Charlie Brown’s question, “What’s Christmas all about, anyway?” Linus’ answer: the Christ, that’s what Christmas is all about.
But is it anymore? Now holiday children’s specials seek to be more politically correct, and any reference to the birth of Jesus is done so only fleetingly—and alongside an admonition of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Whoopi Goldberg, who starred in a recent holiday special, shared this multi-faceted view of the holidays: “Christmas in my house is a madhouse, but I love the holidays,” the 46-year-old said. “We do Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, we do everything. So there are menorahs and giant Christmas trees and Santa Clauses and elves and all kinds of craziness.”
Rather than focus on the plurality of Christmas in the eyes of the media, or over how Christian families should celebrate the holidays, I want to focus on one thing: a plea that you wouldn’t forget about Christmas. That is, don’t forget what this season is supposed to be all about.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the materialism of the holiday. It’s so easy to get consumed under the weight of plays and band or vocal concerts, winter sports, banquets, parties and the like. It’s so easy to get caught up in the very good things of Christmas and forget to acknowledge the Savior. Even in the midst of Christmas cheer, goodwill, kindness, love, the spirit of giving, the warmth of family and seasonal traditions, the Christ child can take a back seat. All of these things are good and are the wonderful aspects of this season that I look forward to each year, but we should give equal attention to the giver of all these good things as well.
I doubt it was snowing, and the early Church’s celebration of our Savior’s birth probably only vaguely resembles our religious observance during the month of December. But for centuries, Christians around the world have taken time during this holiday season to celebrate the greatest gift that has ever been given—that baby born in Bethlehem. Take time for Him, and make Christmas a special time for you and the people you love to celebrate what God has so richly given us.
Lord, I don’t want to be consumed with materialism. I want today to be all about You. Help me focus on what Christmas is truly about.