Yes, it makes me a little angry that the villain of secularism comes along and tries to steal my cherished icons. Nativity scenes disappear from the town square, the grade school Christmas Program has become a Winter Concert, and the department store cashier wishes me a Happy Holidays instead of a Merry Christmas. Christ, indeed, seems to be disappearing from Christmas. I want Christ proclaimed at Christmas.
But I must admit that I also want my cherished Christmas memories to return. If you are like me, perhaps you are guilty of making Christmas a nostalgic flood of memories. The wonder of Christmas in my childhood memories creates an ideal that reality rarely realizes. Added to that are the memories we made with our own children, now grown. I want to soak in the hot bath of yesterday’s wonderful Christmas feelings.
I have set myself up for Christmas disappointment. But wait… the Word of God confronts me with the true wonder and the unfading hope upon which the Christmas season rests. God came down to live with us in the person of Jesus Christ.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:1-5, 14a ESV)
Without doubt, there are agents of darkness working feverishly to extinguish the light. But it is a futile attempt. It cannot be done. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
The infant Jesus came into a dark, dark world; and the light has shined ever since. Wherever Christ is proclaimed, the light shines. Wherever a community of the Spirit lives out the reality of His presence, the darkness does not overcome it. It began to shine in a manger in Bethlehem and has spread all over the world—in some places a sea of light, in others, a small flame. But it is shining and will always shine. Christmas is the celebration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let it shine!