The Hidden Upside of Christmas Spangles

Almost every year, there are complaints about the commercialization of Christmas and it emphasis on spending money - while many families have nothing extra for children or adults. But after seven long years of unemployment and want across the U.S. this Christmas, with added cash and hope, shoppers are not complaining about anything more than the traffic - and the prices.

But there may be a hidden benefit to Christmas which suggests that God doesn't seem to mind the glitz and overconsumption of it all. And that is because aside from the showy displays of Christmas, wouldn't there be many people, especially foreigners in distant, isolated lands, without American television or the Internet, wanting from their encounters with these displays, to know about Christianity?

No other religion has such a worldwide display. There is no birthday bash for Mohammed. Judaism has an interesting history with celebrations in September and October, but there is no glamour in it. Christianity alone takes a day off every year to recognize the birthday of someone very few people on this planet would otherwise know anything about. The atheists join in the fun as well.

Source: Photos-Public-Domain

Large swathes of the planet forbid the Bible or Christianity of any kind, some to the point of death or imprisonment.  There is no religious bookstore or friendly church suppers where the curious can learn anything new. Even at the birth of Jesus, Biblical Palestine's political leader, Herod, was so terrified of this infant that he slaughtered 6,000 baby boys in Bethlehem.

But this doesn't mean there is no way of finding out. Perhaps factory workers in China wonder, as they make Christmas items, "Who are these wise men? This ornament cost 400 kuai! That is more than my daily pay!" Many have no Internet, and religious liberty is non-existent. But someone at the work table may know what a Christian is and what Christmas is. The Chinese prize education and are full of questions.  Making Christmas ornaments is a chance for the lone Christian in that factory to tell the story to his co-workers. Workers in Taiwan and Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines are also making trees, garlands, jeweled ornaments, blinking lights, some of them very expensive. The Christmas story could be in a state of being told there, too.

Everything we have at Christmas has a spiritual dimension.  The tree, pagan in origin, can represent the one that Jesus was crucified on, as well as represent the Tree of Life.  The other tree, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, was the tree that got mankind into its predicament.  Jesus is now that green tree of new life to replace the one we mistakenly chose previously.

The gifts represent those of the Magi, or wise men. But Jesus also promised us gifts on his death - wisdom and knowledge, tongues and interpretation, prophecy and other anointings. God didn't just give us a son, but also a provider, a leader, the King of Kings. Our trinkets pale in comparison.

There is the music, too, which reflects the singing angels on high.  I wonder how many unbelievers eventually have a chance to think about the words they sang in a choir somewhere, or heard in the mall?  To sing Handel's Messiah is to speak the words of Isaiah about the coming ruler.  Might some contemplate the revelation in the lyrics? 

What does a person in impoverished Yemen for example, think of the richest nation in the world taking a day off in December to spend money like crazy, eat a fabulous meal, and exchange costly gifts all because of some tiny baby born 2000 years ago in the Middle East in a barn?

It really makes no sense.  But God sees the influence of this outward show and can use it to raise questions in the minds of men and women worldwide.  They may ask, as we already have, "What child is this?"

 

Cornelia Scott Cree is the author of Immaculate Assumptions: All the Stuff You Heard about the Bible that Isn't True

 

Almost every year, there are complaints about the commercialization of Christmas and it emphasis on spending money - while many families have nothing extra for children or adults. But after seven long years of unemployment and want across the U.S. this Christmas, with added cash and hope, shoppers are not complaining about anything more than the traffic - and the prices.

But there may be a hidden benefit to Christmas which suggests that God doesn't seem to mind the glitz and overconsumption of it all. And that is because aside from the showy displays of Christmas, wouldn't there be many people, especially foreigners in distant, isolated lands, without American television or the Internet, wanting from their encounters with these displays, to know about Christianity?

No other religion has such a worldwide display. There is no birthday bash for Mohammed. Judaism has an interesting history with celebrations in September and October, but there is no glamour in it. Christianity alone takes a day off every year to recognize the birthday of someone very few people on this planet would otherwise know anything about. The atheists join in the fun as well.

Source: Photos-Public-Domain

Large swathes of the planet forbid the Bible or Christianity of any kind, some to the point of death or imprisonment.  There is no religious bookstore or friendly church suppers where the curious can learn anything new. Even at the birth of Jesus, Biblical Palestine's political leader, Herod, was so terrified of this infant that he slaughtered 6,000 baby boys in Bethlehem.

But this doesn't mean there is no way of finding out. Perhaps factory workers in China wonder, as they make Christmas items, "Who are these wise men? This ornament cost 400 kuai! That is more than my daily pay!" Many have no Internet, and religious liberty is non-existent. But someone at the work table may know what a Christian is and what Christmas is. The Chinese prize education and are full of questions.  Making Christmas ornaments is a chance for the lone Christian in that factory to tell the story to his co-workers. Workers in Taiwan and Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines are also making trees, garlands, jeweled ornaments, blinking lights, some of them very expensive. The Christmas story could be in a state of being told there, too.

Everything we have at Christmas has a spiritual dimension.  The tree, pagan in origin, can represent the one that Jesus was crucified on, as well as represent the Tree of Life.  The other tree, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, was the tree that got mankind into its predicament.  Jesus is now that green tree of new life to replace the one we mistakenly chose previously.

The gifts represent those of the Magi, or wise men. But Jesus also promised us gifts on his death - wisdom and knowledge, tongues and interpretation, prophecy and other anointings. God didn't just give us a son, but also a provider, a leader, the King of Kings. Our trinkets pale in comparison.

There is the music, too, which reflects the singing angels on high.  I wonder how many unbelievers eventually have a chance to think about the words they sang in a choir somewhere, or heard in the mall?  To sing Handel's Messiah is to speak the words of Isaiah about the coming ruler.  Might some contemplate the revelation in the lyrics? 

What does a person in impoverished Yemen for example, think of the richest nation in the world taking a day off in December to spend money like crazy, eat a fabulous meal, and exchange costly gifts all because of some tiny baby born 2000 years ago in the Middle East in a barn?

It really makes no sense.  But God sees the influence of this outward show and can use it to raise questions in the minds of men and women worldwide.  They may ask, as we already have, "What child is this?"

 

Cornelia Scott Cree is the author of Immaculate Assumptions: All the Stuff You Heard about the Bible that Isn't True