December 23, 2019
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. – 1 Timothy 1:15
Whatever your home is like when you are growing up, you probably assumed for at least a while that every home was basically like yours. I grew up in a Christian home, and I thought this was the way all families lived. Christmas after Christmas, I remember hearing the story of Jesus’ birth. We listened to the beautiful carols over and over, then went to church and observed Sunday school students perform in a touching Christmas pageant. The adults also performed an evening of Christmas and Yuletide music.
Sometime in the mid-1940s, my cousin came to live with us temporarily. We became best friends. In 1945, he wanted to go home for Christmas and asked me to go with him. I knew that the people in his family were not Christians, but I was in no way prepared for what I saw.
Both my aunt and uncle were moderate to heavy drinkers, and during that trip I observed, for the first time, the way they lived and celebrated. Drinking and partying were the focus of their festivities. There was never a mention of Jesus, as I remember. The music played may have contained a Christmas carol or two, but it was completely drowned out by the atmosphere surrounding it. There was no reference to the birth of Jesus, the accompanying shepherd scene, the “multitude of the heavenly host,” or the visit of the Wise Men. They were celebrating something, but it certainly was not God’s gift of salvation that came to us through the Baby in the manger on the first Christmas Day.
After the holidays, I returned to my home with my cousin. Perhaps what we had observed was good for both of us. We saw that there was a great contrast between a Christian and a non-Christian home. We may have even understood better the Christmas message stated by the Apostle Paul, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Neither of us acted on this information immediately, but at length we both gave our lives to Christ and followed Him. Then we learned in a new and deeper way what Christmas is all about.
Christmas Day is a time to celebrate God’s plan of salvation and the many blessings that come with it. Those who are not doing that at Christmastime are missing out! May we be sure to share with those who may not know the actual reason for Christmas, and make certain that rejoicing in Him is at the heart of our festivities this year!