Yesterday, a friend sent me an email quoted from the weekly email newsletter, “The Focus” published by Dennis Wheeler that put a new spin on the celebration of Christmas for me. Throughout the month of December, we’ll see houses, malls, churches, streets, and classrooms all decorated for Christmas. Is it too much, Wheeler poses? When we decorate, are we commercializing the season, a holiday that is steeped as much in pagan as religious traditions? Is it going overboard to strings lights on our rooflines, pin teddy bears ornaments on our Christmas trees, or layer our mantelpieces with plastic evergreen garland?
Then Dennis Wheeler quotes Jack Hayford and, with Mr. Wheeler’s permission, I take liberty to quote him as well:
"If God commissioned angels to roll back the night and fill it with blazing light.
If God provided a mighty celestial choir to serenade a few startled shepherds.
If God graced the heavens with a miracle star.
If God arranged such a memorable entry point as a feeding trough in a stable.
If God went to all this trouble to open our eyes to His entry into our world...
Then we needn't apologize for festooning our home with a few seasonal reminders."
If you were going to celebrate your child’s birthday, wouldn’t you buy gifts, make a special cake and use decorations of some kind to commemorate their special day? Think of the work, hours and expense families go into to celebrate the special milestones of life: an 80th birthday, a high school graduation, a wedding reception complete with catered dinner, live music, and dancing that will last into the wee hours, a 25th, 40th, or 50th wedding anniversary. Bring out the balloons. Buy fresh flowers! Where’s the streamers and the kazoos? Spend thousands on a catered meal. Let’s celebrate!
The greatest event of human history happened when Jesus took on flesh to become our Savior. That deserves our greatest celebration. We can celebrate with abandon and we can teach our children to celebrate inside and outside the classroom in many ways that all honor our Lord’s special day. We can worship in holy reverent praise in Christmas candlelight services and reenactments of the nativity scene. We can feast as we do at Thanksgiving in honor of Him. We can also use visual reminders such as garland, wreathes, lights, snowmen, and nativity scenes to remind us, hey, there’s a celebration happening here! As we involve our children in the decorating process, we can use that teachable moment to tell again the wondrous story.
I like what Dennis Wheeler said at the end of his devotional:
“So, run on out to the store and purchase a few more strands of Christmas lights and present your decorating and decorations to the Lord as a tribute to Him!
Pray before you decorate.
Worship as you decorate.
Give thanks after you decorate."
"Whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through Him to God the Father." -Colossians 3:17 (NLT)
Amen! Now, how can I decorate my church classrooms this week?