Finally, the day before Christmas Eve, we are getting into a Christmas mood. Last year we had the best Christmas season we’ve had for a long time. But this year we have all not seemed to have been as merry as usual. Maybe it’s because we more or less skipped Thanksgiving this year; or maybe it’s because we had to hit the ground running when we got down here last month (it is a certifiable fact that, as a family, we are tired); perhaps it is because we didn’t have a Christmas party at all this year. We were planning one, but my sister broke her wrist instead.
Anyways, why we aren’t “feeling ho-ho” is a subject of speculation, so I won’t delve any deeper. Instead, I want to take a moment to mention why we celebrate Christmas in the first place, since that is not a subject of speculation. Our family celebrates this holiday, not as a holy day set aside by God, but as a time of remembering the incarnation of our Lord and Savior. This is one reason that our “Christmas season” does not end on Christmas day–our own family’s traditions are a blend of our grandparents’ and our own. Usually, we have a special meal with candlelight and fancy dress (followed by a reading of the second chapter of Luke) on the evening of the twenty-fourth as the official opening of Christmas celebrations. The next morning, we have a special breakfast, open gifts, and just spend the rest of the day all together. Throughout the ensuing “twelve days of Christmas” we continue to listen to Christmas music and prepare for the close of the Christmas festivities–Epiphany. Thus, the evening of January sixth finds us again enjoying a special meal, after which we retire to the living room for a reading of the first chapter of Matthew and the exchange of small gifts. Thus we open and close the official Christmas season with memorable meals, gifts, and Scripture. Though these family traditions have had to be modified somewhat the past few years (and this year in particular), they yet remain esssentially intact and still serve to remind us of the fact that our Redeemer was born to die. And praise God that Jesus Christ did not remain dead, but rose again to conquer sin and death, thus purchasing our inheritance with him forever!
Even though Santa Claus is culturally a part of Christmas, I have never liked Santa Claus (or clowns, either, for that matter)–nor was this fay intruder ever a part of our Christmas traditions. Instead, we have always made it a point to keep the focus on God’s blessings on us, instead of on the quantity of gifts under our Christmas tree.
I know that many of our Reformed brethren do not celebrate Christmas for various reasons; but, personally, I think that is a liberty of conscience issue. I see no reason why anyone should condemn another for choosing to or choosing not to celebrate the occasion of our Lord’s coming into this world to live and die for our salvation. It really doesn’t matter whether or not we know the exact time that Jesus was born, for we are not superstitiously holding to a specific date as if it were a Sabbath ordained of God for us to keep in holy solemnities. It is a joyous time for our family and a good reminder of the why and how of our redemption in Christ–a time to pause in our pilgrimage through life to stop, look back to how we got to be where and who we are, and then to look forward at our ultimate purpose and our journey’s end.
Then, for God’s glory, let us rejoice and be glad this Christmas season, for the Son of David was born for our redemption from the just wrath of God so that we might become a holy people to honor him.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4