Q: A family in our apartment complex comes from a country with very few Christians, and yet they told us their stores are full of Santa Clauses, Christmas decorations and holiday sales. They didn't even realize Christmas is supposed to celebrate Jesus' birth. Could this happen here?
A: Yes, it certainly could, and for some people I'm afraid it already has. We often used to see billboards or advertisements urging us to "Put Christ back into Christmas," but we don't seem to see them as often today.
Without Christ, Christmas loses its real meaning and becomes only a secular holiday -- an excuse to have a good time or express our friendship for others by giving them gifts. For many, it's also a time to renew family ties and look with hope to the new year.
These things aren't necessarily wrong, of course, if we keep them in perspective and don't let them overshadow the real reason for Christmas. After all, Christmas should be a time of rejoicing -- not in some shallow, meaningless way, but rejoicing over what God has done for us by sending His Son into the world. When the angel first appeared to those shepherds outside Bethlehem that first Christmas night, he declared, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people" (Luke 2:10).
Ask Christ to be the center of your life -- not just during the Christmas season, but every day of the year. In addition, pray for your neighbors, and ask God to use you to help them discover who Jesus is and what He wants to do in their lives. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12).