Don’t Let Christmas Distract You from Christ
May your Christmas vision be clear this season as you allow me to share the thoughts below with you. Christmas is a busy season. Streets and stores are filled with people making last-minute preparations. Travelers on the highways increase, airports are crowded— everywhere seems to come to life with music, lights, and festive decorations.
A writer has said: “Of all holidays there is none that enters so fully into the human heart, and stirs so many of the higher sentiments. The thoughts, memories, hopes, and customs linked with it are bound by antiquity and nationality collectively; and by childhood and old age individually. They embrace the religious, social, and patriotic sides of our nature. The holly and mistletoe entwined among the evergreens, the habit of giving gifts to those we love, the presence of the Christmas tree, the superstition of Santa Claus, all combining to make Christmas the most longed-for, the most universal, and from every standpoint, the most important holiday known to man” [Clarence Baird, “The Spirit of Christmas,” ].
The season is steeped in tradition, and its roots stem back in history. The commencement of the holiday lies in pagan worship long before the introduction of Christianity. The pagan worship of the sun, deeply rooted in Roman culture, was replaced by one of the greatest festivals among Christians. Christmas has come down to us as a day of thanksgiving and rejoicing—a day of good cheer and goodwill to men. Although it has an earthly relation and significance, it is divine in content. The ancient Christian celebration has lived continuously through the centuries.
How is Christmas regarded today? The legend of Santa Claus, the Christmas tree, the decorations of tinsel and mistletoe, and the giving of gifts all express to us the spirit of the day we celebrate; but the true spirit of Christmas lies much deeper than these. It is found in the life of the Savior, in the principles He taught, in His atoning sacrifice—which become our great heritage.
It is possible for Christ to be born in men’s lives. He is not just a general truth or a fact in history, but the Savior of men everywhere and at all times. When we strive to be Christlike, He is “formed” in us; if we open the door, He will enter; if we seek His counsel, He will counsel us. Such a belief in Christ and the keeping of His commandments are not restraints upon us. By these, men are set free. This Prince of Peace waits to give peace of mind, which may make each of us an instrument of that peace.
Christmas is not a day or a season, but a condition of heart and mind.
If we love our neighbors as ourselves;
if in our riches we are poor in spirit and in our poverty we are rich in grace;
if our charity vaunteth not itself, but suffereth long and is kind;
if when our brother asks for a loaf, we give ourselves instead, if each day dawns in opportunity and sets in achievement, however small—then every day is Christ’s day and Christmas is always near.
-- James Wallingford
“If you desire to find the true spirit of Christmas and partake of the sweetness of it, let me make this suggestion to you. During the hurry of the festive occasion of this Christmas season, find time to turn your heart to God. Perhaps in the quiet hours, and in a quiet place, and on your knees—alone or with loved ones—give thanks for the good things that have come to you, and ask that His Spirit might dwell in you as you earnestly strive to serve Him and keep His commandments. He will take you by the hand and His promises will be kept.” --Howard W. Hunter
“And in despair I bowed my head; "There is no peace on earth," I said; "For hate is strong, And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!" Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: "God is not dead, nor doth he sleep! The Wrong shall fail, the Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men!” ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” ― Charles Dickens
It has been said that Christmas is for children; but as the years of childhood pass away and maturity takes their place, the simple teaching of the Savior that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35) becomes a reality. The transition from a pagan holiday transformed into a Christian festival to the birth of Christ in men’s lives is another form of maturity that comes to one who has been touched by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
May God bless you and your family this Christmas season, Emmanuel, God with Us.
ENOCH of NJ
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! We received numerous inquiries and have possibly filled many of the needs listed from last month. We still need your help! If you have a heart to serve and can help us, we would love to have you. Here are some areas we have open.
Silent Auction Coordinator - this job runs from December through the convention. You must be able to contact perspective donors during business hours. Some computer knowledge a plus.
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ENOCH of N J
15 Manchester Ave.
Keyport, NJ 07735
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