Christmas is coming. It seems that stores and the media have jumped over Thanksgiving completely, except as the starting off day for Christmas sales. Red suited Santas will begin appearing everywhere. A dear family wrote to me recently asking how we dealt with Santa when our kids were growing up. We never emphasized his bringing gifts, but looked at the story of St. Nicholas instead. I know each family deal with this differently and that is fine, but it does raise a larger issue. As Christians how do we teach these major events that come up throughout the year. Halloween, is it ghosts and goblins or do we emphasize All Hallow’s Eve and All Saints Day? Thanksgiving, is it only about turkey and football, or about the Godly roots upon which our country was founded? Christmas, well I’ve mentioned that above, but you get the point. We live in a very secular world which seeks to remove all meaning from these annual days, except for free time and indulgence. Our values are different. Our fun is different. We are not stiff and stodgy by any means, but we do seek to to all things in ways that bring honor to our Lord.
My remark yesterday about America not being a Christian nation meets opposition from some people. We are a nation of many Christians, but we must be clear about what a Christian is. The word is thrown around too easily, and is claimed by many people who seek to live a moral, upstanding life. Seventy plus percent of people in the U.S. take the title Christian for themselves. But a Christian is one who believes in the divinity of Jesus, that He is God incarnate come among us, and further, that His death on the cross was an atoning sacrifice for our sins. It is these two beliefs that set Christianity apart from all other world faiths. Christians seek to be moral people, but there are many moral non-Christians. The divinity of Jesus, and the atoning sacrifice, are central to our faith. It is important that our nation was founded by God honoring men, but they are not the source our salvation. That is found only in Jesus Christ.