“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
It is indeed. More than any other time of year, there is an air of peace and goodwill toward all. There are festive lights, trees, music and merriment of all kinds. People exchange gifts, smiles, hugs and good wishes. Calendars are dotted with holiday receptions and parties, potlucks and door-decorating contests. And don’t forget about the food—hot cocoa, eggnog, cider, cookies, cakes and pies. There is no time of the year quite like Christmas. But year after year, fewer and fewer Americans and American corporations are comfortable with tying Christmas to the birth of Jesus Christ. Strangely enough, even Americans who identify as Christians sometimes struggle with openly and unashamedly connecting their celebration of Christmas to Jesus.
For Christians, Christmas should centrally be about Jesus. I do not say that to suggest that anything is wrong with Christians partaking in secular aspects of the holiday season, like Santa, presents, trees and sugar cookies. But for Christians, it should be understood that those practices and traditions are affiliated loosely—if affiliated at all—with the celebration Jesus’ birth. The saddest and most troubling observation about Christmas in 21st century America is that secular society has now taken Christians’ Christmas, turned it into something with little or no Christian meaning or significance, and shamed many American Christians out of celebrating the holiday’s true meaning. This is not a small thing. Please do not allow anyone to rob you of the joy of celebrating your Savior’s birth at Christmas.
For Christians, Christmas is the celebration of God’s indescribable, incomprehensible gift to us—the gift of Jesus Christ. God loves you and me so much that He wrapped himself in human flesh, was born of a virgin, lived and walked as both God and man, endured the cruelest and most excruciating of executions, died, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and rose from the dead, literally, so that all who confess with their mouth and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead would be saved (Romans 10:9). For Christians, Christmas should be a celebration of the greatest love there ever was—God’s love for us.
During this Christmas season, my prayer for American Christians and Christians around the world is that Jesus Christ will remain the centerpiece of our holiday season; that we would never lose sight of the Perfect Gift of God the Father in the person of Jesus Christ the Son; and that, in this season and in the coming year, we would open ourselves to being used by God in whatever manner He sees fit to introduce Jesus, that Perfect Gift, to our communities. As enjoyable as the secular holiday activities might be, at the end of the holiday season, those all come to an end. All that is left to do is to wait until next year. But for those of us who love Jesus and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, the joy and hope of Christmas never ends.
About the Author
Dr. Wayne D. Lewis, Jr. is beginning his second year as president of Houghton University. He became the sixth president of Houghton in June 2021 after serving as the inaugural Dean of the School of Education at Belmont University. During his first year at Houghton, Dr. Lewis has emphasized a strong commitment to students and employees. The University has achieved several significant milestones under his leadership—including achieving a new name, Houghton University; streamlining the academic structure; and initiating the development of a future-focused strategic plan. Read more about President Lewis.