There is a song which is heard repeatedly throughout the month of December which proclaims Christmas as “the most wonderful day of the year.” I was thinking about the implications of that message for our world today.
I know it not just the words of the song that is the motivating factor, but I know several families who seem to pick up that message. They are basically “religiously neutral” throughout the year, but make a point to always “go to the Christmas service” at their church. I’m not saying it is a bad thing that they attend their church, but what makes this one time special? Why suddenly do they slip out of neutral and into drive, get a little traction and suddenly feel the need to “go to church”?
I do understand that in many churches there is a bit of pageantry that surrounds Christmas. They make it special with choral programs, plays, special decorations and special services directed towards the celebration of Christmas. I’m reminded of a story about a man complaining about the church service they had been to. His young son piped up, “I thought it was a pretty good show for a dollar!”
What occurs to me is that to many people it is more about the show, the pageantry if you will, than it is about the one they are supposed to be remembering. I understand the implications of the virgin birth of our Savior. I understand that without the story about that miraculous birth recorded in the scripture; we would miss out of something wonderful. What I don’t understand is why much of the world chooses to just remember the Savior only this one time per year. Why are so many people “religiously neutral” for the rest of the year?
I have to believe that it is because God and religion are really not that important to them. For many it’s like putting on a cross as a piece of jewelry, they think of it as a talisman. They think that it will somehow protect them from bad things happening in their lives. Some reason that if they “go to church,” it will let God know they think of him “this most wonderful day of the year,” yet for some it’s just a good show.
Personally, I love the holiday season. I love the music, I love the decorations, I love the way that many people become more loving and giving, I love that many become more aware of Christ and his miraculous birth. The question is why only in December? Why only one day of the year and then slip back into neutral?
Do you remember what the greatest commandment is? Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:36-38. He is asked, “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”
If you only showed love to your wife, your husband or you children one time a year, do you think they would really believe you loved them? Ask yourself what your relationship to God is telling him.
Russ Lawson is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with his column Today’s Challenges. He is semi-retired and an elder at the Mid-County Church of Christ. He can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.