Union Ridge Church

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

by Reverend Dan on November 23, 2022
Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving and that got me thinking. Remember the old slogan, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?” I wonder what would happen if instead of fighting culture so hard during the holidays, we used what they do to our advantage?

Take Christmas, for instance. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard (OK, I confess, I’ve said it too), “I can’t believe they’re putting up Christmas decorations already.” You can hear people complaining the day after Halloween.

In the Philippines, however, get this: they start in August! There, if it’s one of the “-ber” months - September, October, November, or December – it’s beginning to look (and sound – they play Christmas music beginning in September) a lot like Christmas!

In fact, they are recognized for having the world’s longest Christmas season. (Next to the North Pole, I’m sure. It’s Christmas year-round in Santa-land.) And you don’t see people rushing to take the decorations down by New Year’s Day either. It’s usually February before you see the tinsel and lights stop shining.

The main decorations in the Philippines are lanterns shaped like the Star of Bethlehem and “belens”, which are figures which represent Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus in the manger. You find those in stores, homes, churches, and just about everywhere else you look, too.

Is all of this Christmas joy driven by the church? Absolutely not. It’s fueled by commercialism. Christian devotion has very little (if anything) to do with it. In fact, much of their economy is fueled by the sale of Christmas decorations to other countries. Just sell, sell, sell. Oh, and if Jesus gets a few nods, good for Him.

But. What would happen if the church used all those decorations and advertisements the mall and magazines and newspapers and internet put out? Used them as evangelism tools. What if it took every chance to remind folks that the reason it’s all done is to celebrate the birth of our Savior? What if the church used the economic undercurrent to spread the true Christmas message? So what if commercialism is funding the evangelism?! Nothing says we can’t jump on the bandwagon, even if it’s for a different reason. After all, they took the holiday from us in the first place. I say, let’s just take it back. The least the church can do is use what’s right in front of us to remind folks of the real reason we celebrate.

This holiday season, I challenge you to use every opportunity to remind people that without Christ, there is no Christmas. He truly is “the reason for the season.” Now, go fill up on turkey and watch some parades and football, take a really good nap, and get ready. It’s about to get Christmas crazy out there! Happy Thanksgiving!