by June Griffin
The news recently reported that thousands awaited doorbusters and many were injured in the rush to get something cheap for their holiday gift-giving bonanza. My mind went to the Wise Men who brought gifts to Christ, some three years after He was born, and brought them to a HOUSE where He was living with His parents. (Uh, they were not at the manger with the shepherds, but who cares?) And to give gifts to each other before a King would be a perfect insult.
They brought gifts to Him, not to each other. Imagine these Wise Men getting up at midnight, sitting out in the cold while the crowd gathered, so they could be the first in line to get a bargain for Christ. Their benevolence melted away like the chilly night when the surge came and perhaps jammed one of the other Wise Men to the wall, while someone called 911 to carry the injured Benefactor off to the hospital or the morgue. All in the Name of Jesus.
How about the mistletoe and alcohol where married men and women break the Commandment against adultery and fornication, fired up by the Christmas bottle, the Christmas Spirit? All in the Name of Jesus, of course.
And then there's The Tree. Mary and Joseph must've had a rough time getting the cedar into the barn or cave, depending on which scene you conjure up, and since Jesus was most likely born in late summer, snow is hard to come by, but they must have been dreaming of a white Christmas. All in the Name of Jesus!
Who is this fat, bearded fellow descending down the chimney, whose genealogy dates back to Nicholas, Patron Saint of the Thieves? What chapter and verse records the elves busily working at the North Pole to load up the sleigh for the Patron Saint who flies magically through the air? All in the Name of Jesus!
The burning of the yule log, the fantasies, the shopping, the alcohol, an international celebration to what? Rudolph, the Little Drummer Boy and who knows who else has gathered to watch Mommy kissing Santa Claus, who is now gone off to the divorce court because of the mistletoe.
No wonder the Puritans jailed such revellers and went through England, ringing bells, crying: No Christmas! What Scripture grants the liberty to celebrate such nonsense as goes on in the Name of Jesus! The birthday of the Saviour never resulted in suicides, murders, divorces, family troubles, envy and dissatisfaction, rather the True Saviour comes with writing the Ten Commandments on the walls of the hearts and the Court Rooms and the School Houses, saying: "I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life," and "If you love me, keep my Commandments." The Second Commandment is the troublesome one, the Commandment that international religions despise: it won't allow such desecration of the birth of One Who came to sanctify His people away from the world and its vile practices.
In the words of the 18th century Methodist Commentator Adam Clarke, since December 25 is the culmination of the sun cycle, celebrated by all the pagan and heathen religions, it is worst day to celebrate the birthday of the Saviour. If you insist that you so love Jesus that you must have a special day for His Birth, you have two dilemmas. You must move the Naval Observatory to change the calendar, and you must determine to keep only those ordinances which the Lord ordered. And you might look around for some real Wise Men. They will be your Judge.