We are considering some of the issues that Christmas brings to mind. In our thinking in the previous article (236) we raised the issue of how the believer who loves the Lord should interact with the paganism of the world's celebration of a holiday which has been turned into an orgy of self.
Today we want to ask a pertinent question because Christmas falls on Sunday [Editor's note: this article was written in December, 1983]. What are your plans for Christmas? As we pointed out last week, it is, after all, supposed to be a celebration of the birth of the Savior. Thus, He should be the focus of our attention--not our own plans and pleasures. Sunday is, within the plan of God, the normal one-day-in-seven in which His children are to meet together to mutually encourage one another in the matters of the faith. This, though often set aside by the unbelieving and carnal, is a matter of biblical command (Hebrews 10:24-25) which carries with it both a promise of spiritual growth and a warning of dire judgment (note verse 26). Since Christmas should be a particular day when we seek His pleasure ('it's His birth, not ours), and since Sunday is the normal day of our meeting together, the churches should be packed to capacity--but will they be?
How is it that we so easily set aside God's loving design for our benefit? Does He command our assembling together because He wants to rob us of pleasure and blessing? "He must," one is tempted to reply, "because it is far more fun fishing or hunting or sleeping in or lounging around than it is to be in a stuffy church with a bunch of self-righteous hypocrites." But herein is a part of the 'crunch'--God seeks our blessing, not our 'fun'. Blessing is directly related to the outcome of our lives in eternity--not time. God knows what we need in respect to eternity--what changes we need to make and what actions we need to forsake. And the weekly confrontation with the Truth that the Church is to provide is a part of His plan to bring about those changes. When we forsake that confrontation for whatever weak excuse we make we are only proving what kind of idolaters we really are--for we seek our fun while He seeks our benefit.
Then, add to the basic argument for attendance on a weekly basis with the Church the fact that this year Christmas day also falls on Sunday, and it is difficult to see how anyone who really wants to be pleasing to the Lord can set aside the things which He has expressly stated to be His desire from us and not give Him this day.
So often, when we get someone a gift, we get them something that we would like to have--and not focus in on what they would like to get. Will that be the case this year with you as you cast about for something to give to the Lord on the celebration of His birth? Will you do what you want, or will you do what He has already declared that He wants?