Getting a Grip on Christmas

Getting a Grip on Christmas
By Carl A. Trapani

The malls are full. The stores are stuffed. Traffic is terrible. It’s the holiday season once again. Time for people seeking the “holiday spirit” to lose any remnant of joy, peace and love, as they madly pursue finding the perfect gift for people they don’t even like. The shelves are stocked with just about everything except the advertised sale items you came looking for. Everywhere you look, crying kids with runny noses are screaming for something they want, NOW! You put your life on the line as you move cautiously through the store. Down every aisle you have to watch out for violent shoppers who are using their carts as battering rams. These people become increasingly violent as they decide they have had enough, and begin bashing their way towards the checkout line. As you approach these lines, you hear sounds that remind you more of a battle zone or insane asylum than a pleasant retail outlet. The noise, mayhem, and logjam of humanity is awesome. That is why some experienced veterans of the Christmas Crush wisely send a child or two to the checkout line as they enter the store, to hold their place in line. Their foresight is evident when you notice that the checkout lines start at the front door and go out the back.

When you get finally arrive at the cash register, you become aware it’s being run by a gum-chewing, teen-age girl. This is obviously her first day on the job. She’s one of the extras put on part-time for the Christmas rush. It takes her about 2 minutes per item just to find the keys. You try-not to get angry, but while she pokes around at the register she is also keeping a running discussion with the girl at the next register about her date last night with some boy named Waldo.

In between her gum-chewing and conversation, she has to get a price check on every other item. Finally, after what seems hours, she is down to the last three items. It is then that she looks up at you and says, “Oops, the register tape jammed. I’ve got to void everything.” Why am I not surprised?

Maybe in the midst of all this mayhem, you have found yourself getting a less than “ho ho ho” kind of attitude. In act you may actually find yourself identifying strongly with Ebeneezer Scrooge of Dicken’s immortal tale, A Christmas Carol. If so, I am glad you are reading this. You need this message. You need to “get a grip on Christmas.” You need once again to see the real reason and essence of this “most wonderful time of the year.”

First of all – let me assert that the real meaning of Christmas is assuredly not a lot of things that have become associated with it. Christmas is definitely not Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Jolly old St. Nick, and a lot of other names are used for a fat old man in what must be the filthiest red suit in town, (considering how many chimneys he is supposed to be sliding up and down). I sure wouldn’t want him sitting down in my living room! Besides that, I always wondered how he got into homes that didn’t have chimneys I guess those homes just missed out on getting any gifts from him.

I recently spoke with a college student who confided in me that she despised Santa, because of how her faith was so terribly shaken when she discovered at the age of seven that he wasn’t real! She said she now has a hard time believing in God, because she keeps thinking, “What if He isn’t real either?” Santa becomes a tool of Satan to destroy children’s faith after they discover he isn’t real.

I’m still amazed at the number of Christians who actually teach their children to believe in Santa Claus. Can it be that like the “man of sin” he has deceived even the very elect?

There are some other interesting observations regarding Santa and Satan. Santa has the same letters as Satan. Both are shown wearing red. Both make promises they don’t keep. Both deceive. Both try to take the place of Jesus. Santa has elves to help him, just like Satan has little demons that work for him!

In the song “Santa Claus is coming to Town,” there are an amazing number of metaphors comparing Santa to God. These have entered into our culture and become part of the cult surrounding Santa Claus. Santa’s coming on Christmas Eve is like the 2nd Coming, He has Divine attributes and is all-knowing, All-Wise, Ever-Present, Keeps a Record, and Judges and Rewards Human Actions. Notice the lyrics “You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why…. He’s making a list and checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty or nice…. He sees you when you’re sleeping, He knows when you’re awake, He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!” The real meaning of Christmas is definitely not found in Santa Claus, or the abbreviation Xmas. And it isn’t in any of the following things that are often associated with it either:

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – or any other team of flying animals with strange sounding German names.

Frosty – the living snowman. I sure wouldn’t let my children play with some fat snow-beast with a magic hat.

Mistletoe and Holly- or any other noxious weed or plant. Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that encircles and destroys many good young trees.

Snow- Christmas in Florida is still Christmas without snow.

Christmas Cards- Each year the list gets longer as we send and receive greetings to folks that we don’t speak with for the rest of the year.

Christmas Trees- Some folks believe that these are condemned as idols in Jeremiah 10:3-5. Maybe to protect the unwary, there could be a sign made to hang on them. “Warning- This tree is not God. It’s only a Holiday decoration please do not worship!

And the real meaning of Christmas isn’t found in any of these things either. Silver Bells, Christmas parties, stockings hung by the fireplace, gift exchanges, lights and tinsel, sleigh rides, cookies baking, Christmas carols and so on, and on. Let me assure you that not all of these things are necessarily bad, or wrong. Some of them are actually quite nice. It’s just that they aren’t what Christmas is all about. If you aren’t careful you may find yourself caught up in these rather than the real meaning and essence of Christmas. If you want to get a grip on Christmas, disregard all these, and consider the real meaning of Christmas. The real essence of Christmas is bound up in a person, an event and a mission.

The person- Jesus Christ He was God incarnate. The event His birth at Bethlehem. God became flesh, and dwelt among us. The mission- He came to save us. He came to seek and to save that which was lost.

Get a grip on the real meaning of Christmas. Take time to remember that: one day, almost 2,000 years ago, our Savior was born. He came as God’s gift to all mankind. Take the time to be thankful for Jesus Christ. So get a grip on Christmas. Get a grip on Jesus Christ! Don’t ever forget that

He’s the reason for the season.

From, “The Louisiana Challenger”/ / Page 5-6, by Carl A. Trapani

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