Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Christmas exposes the insignificance of politics!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     In 1963, Andy Williams first sung, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” on his TV variety show.  Written by Edward Pola and George Wyle, the tune has become a Christmas season classic. The song is a celebration and description of activities associated with Christmas, primarily focused on get-togethers between friends and family.   But is Christmas the most wonderful time of the year? 

     According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), December is the most dangerous month for drug and alcohol-related deaths.  In a Healthline study from 2015, 60% of adults polled said they experienced some degree of stress during the holiday season.  Those include financial stress, conflict-laden family gatherings, loneliness and unrealistic expectations.  Others are grieving from the loss of a loved one- an empty place at the table.  According to a British study, feeling low around Christmas is common among the unemployed, divorced, and widowed. For those, Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year?  Three observations:

     First, Christmas is widely celebrated in the U.S.  According to a Gallup poll, 93% of Americans observe the holiday in some way.  A Pew Research poll found 71% of Americans do not celebrate the ‘religious’ aspects of Christmas.  That number is double what it was just twenty years ago.  Only 51% of Americans polled planned to attend a church service in conjunction with Christmas.

     The commercialization/exploitation of Christmas has changed the holiday from religious to secular.  Instead of recognizing the ‘reason for the season,’ and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas has become a time for festive parties, and lavish gift giving.   The average American family spends over two weeks salary on Christmas gifts.  According to a UCLA health study, between Thanksgiving and News Years, Americans drink nearly twice the alcohol they normally drink.  

     Second, Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  Believers who do not celebrate the holiday point to pagan origins and that Christ did not command His followers to celebrate the day of His birth.  But He didn’t forbid it.  Shouldn’t those who claim Christ celebrate His birth?  Tim Keller said, “There has never been a gift offered that makes you swallow your pride to the depths that the gift of Jesus Christ requires us to do.  Christmas means we are so lost, so unable to save ourselves that nothing less than the death of the Son of God Himself could save us.” That is the reason for the season.  That is the true meaning of Christmas.  During a time when a confused/chaotic world is so aware of Christ, shouldn’t believers use that opportunity to point out He is not a babe in a manger, but the Savior of the world? 

     Third, Christmas exposes the insignificance of politics.  The Christmas story shows the incredible lengths God went to in order to save His people. It magnifies a holy, sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent Creator who gave His only son to redeem sinful man.  In the grand scheme of things, elections, political Parties, elected officials, rallies, and legislation is temporal at best. Christmas should be a time every man engages in soul-searching introspection, seeking to get their priorities in line with their Creator.  It should not be a time of self-aggrandizement, but a humbling one.  It should not be a season of debate/argumentation, but one of contemplation. 

     The prophet Isaiah (9:6) foretold the birth of Christ.  In that well-known verse, he wrote ‘the government will rest on His shoulders.”  There will come a time when Christ will reign over a literal, earthly, geopolitical kingdom of all the kingdoms and governments of the world.   Unlike convoluted, chaotic human governments, the Messiah’s kingdom is uncomplicated because He is the Eternal Father, Creator, and Sustainer.  There is no bloated bureaucracy, no spin masters, conflict or talking heads in Christ’s administration.  When Christ returns to execute the final political solution, there will truly be world peace.  That will be the most wonderful time!   

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