Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas: the most wicked of all holidays

When we think about the holidays, we might think that Halloween is the most wicked of them all. It is a celebration of the dead and often involves people dressing up as ghosts and witches and any number of evil things. If that isn’t enough, children go from house to house begging for candy. Christmas, on the other hand, is viewed as the very best of the holidays. We sing songs of peace on earth and good will to men. We watch the kids in the Christmas pageant at church. We read the story of Jesus’ birth in the Bible. What could possibly be evil about Christmas?

For one thing, Santa. The way many people view the jolly old elf is far more evil than what most people do for Halloween. Many people view Santa Claus as the god of snow. Take the song “Snow for Johny,” for example. One line says, “God, tell Saint Nicholas to send a little snow.” While the kid in the song is praying to God, it seems to be saying that the weather isn’t in the hands of God, but in the hands of Saint Nicholas. While there are indications in the Bible that one of the jobs given to angels is to control the weather and other natural events, it is not their decision but God’s. If we want snow, God is the person to ask, not Saint Nicholas or an angel.

Many people view Santa as this benevolent being who wants to give people, and especially children, whatever they ask for. The concept of Santa is the way many people think of God. They send Santa a letter, asking for gifts of various kinds, from toys to snow to new family members. Unlike God, Santa’s only job is to give them whatever they want. God might say no to a prayer, but Santa will always say yes, as long as someone has been good enough during the year. People have made Santa into a god. That is evil.

Then there is this concept of belief. Whether it is belief in Santa or belief in the holiday itself, we are bombarded with the idea that we have to believe. The belief that we are told to have is one with no evidence. If one says that they don’t believe because they’ve never seen evidence of Santa, they are told that Santa won’t show himself to people who don’t believe. After all, we’re told, it isn’t real belief if it isn’t blind.

That concept not only encourages children to believe in something that doesn’t exist, but it messes up what God has told us about faith. Salvation also requires faith and people have latched onto this Christmas faith for it as well. They have the idea that if they can make themselves believe, by forcing all doubts aside when they see no evidence, that they have done enough to make it to heaven. That is not saving faith. Saving faith is not belief in something that has no evidence. When we accept Christ as our Savior, we have evidence. That evidence comes first in the form of his word, written in the Holy Bible and presented to us through the preaching of his saints. The world itself proves the existence of God. The inerrancy of the Bible reveals its truth. But when we come to Jesus, we have one more evidence that is unlike any other. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and encourages us to put our faith in Jesus Christ. For us to teach people to believe in Christmas faith, which is a faith with no evidence, is evil because it may keep people from seeking saving faith, which has much evidence.

Christmas is a time of overindulgence and gluttony. Not only do people eat far more than they should, but they use the holiday as an excuse to spend large amounts of money on themselves and others. Children are supposed to get ever gift they ever wanted. The poor and homeless are given special meals, though the people who are concerned about them at Christmastime may have no concern at all during the rest of the year. It is very much about people wanting to make themselves feel good. People want Christmas to be “the most wonderful time of the year.” Somehow, they believe they deserve for Christmas to make them feel special.

The thing that makes Christmas the most wicked holiday is that people worship Christmas rather than God. Even though Jesus never asked us to celebrate his birthday, Christmas is supposed to remind us of the birth of Jesus. Without the virgin birth, his sinless life would not have been possible and his death on the cross would have no value. But when people worship the holiday instead of the God who came to earth to dwell among us, it is as evil as evil can be.