Daily Devotional for Saturday December 15, 2007
Dept. Stores Are No Longer Saying Merry Christmas
(Isaiah 43:10, John 15:27)
One of the big "controversies last Christmas was over certain department stores and retailers who ordered their employees to NOT say "Merry Christmas." Well, that issue is still with us this Christmas. Today, I want to give you a different side of this story that nobody else is talking about.
Please forgive me if I don't share the outrage of many Christians that some department stores and other retailers have quit saying "Merry Christmas." To be frank with you, I don't know why we expect a secular business to promote Christ when they have turned the celebration of his birth into a celebration of mammon! They don't exist to please the heart of God but the insatiable appetite of man. They aren't in business to bless people, only take their money. So their decision to not say "Merry Christmas" is much ado about nothing.
The fact is, WE are the ones who are supposed to say "Merry Christmas" to them!!! Why do we expect the world to do what WE are supposed to be doing? If you know Jesus as your Savior, it is YOU who is supposed to say "Merry Christmas" to those you meet along your journey through life each day. The Bible says that WE are His ambassadors, WE are His witnesses, WE are to be salt and light, not some secular department store! This is one of the best times of the year to be a Christian and remind people that Christmas is NOT about merchandise, but the birth of Jesus. WE are the ones to remind the world that Christmas is not about the presents we give to each other, but the present God gave to this world in the form of His Son Jesus Christ!
This is also the time of year when so many people get outraged because their town hall won't put up a manger scene. I wonder how many of those who are outraged have manger scenes in THEIR yards? Why do you expect the city hall to put up a display like that when you won't even do it in your own yard where it is 100% legal? We expect the government to publicly symbolize the birth of Jesus but we aren't willing to do it ourselves! Again, God called US, not the government to be His witness to this lost world!
Listen my friend, I would LOVE to see manger scenes in the town square, love to see "Christmas" not Holiday parades, love to hear Christmas carols in public, not songs about reindeers, snowmen and Santa Claus, and I would love to hear "Merry Christmas" at the store instead of "Happy Holidays," but what do you expect from a world that has rejected God's Son and the Truth of His Word? I've been trying to tell you for over 8+ years now that this is no longer a Christian nation, that we live in a world that operates in rebellion to God, so how come we expect the world to promote the birth of Jesus?
PROMOTING THE BIRTH OF JESUS IS OUR JOB!
God has called us to share our faith in Christ and the hope we have in Him with this lost and dying world. As this Christmas season is upon us, NOW is the time for each one of us who knows Christ as our Savior to be faithful in sharing Him with a world that needs His love so desperately. Even though the world has perverted this wonderful time of the year by cashing in on the birth of Jesus, now even trying to act like that is not what this time of the year is about, it is our opportunity to make sure everyone we meet knows that this blessed time is about one thing and one thing only...the birth of Jesus!
My challenge to you is to not get caught up in these mindless debates about department stores not saying "Merry Christmas," but for YOU to say "Merry Christmas" to those you encounter during your day. Let those God has called to the legal arena fight for the public displays and symbols of our faith, while those of us who know Christ exercise OUR FREEDOM to publicly display the symbols of our faith. Rather than being upset that the great Christmas carols are not being sung, get a group from your church and spend a night caroling throughout your neighborhood.
I love you and care about you so much. I know it is frustrating to see the world we live in reject Christ. If it hurts us, imagine how it hurts God who so loves this world! We often get so caught up in the world's rejection of God and His Truth that we forget that WE are the ones God has called to bring His hope and Truth to the lost and hurting. We expect the world to do what we have been called to do! It is our job as followers of Christ to declare His love and mercy and grace, not the job of a fallen world that rejects the Lord. Rather than lamenting how the world is trying to eliminate God, we have got to get busy doing our job which is to declare God's existence and presence. We can't blame a world that has rejected God for not doing the job WE have been called by God to do!
I pray today that each of us who knows Jesus will exercise OUR freedoms this Christmas season and make sure every person we come in contact with knows that the joy we have in our heart comes from this precious time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Savior. It is a great opportunity for each of us to share our faith in Christ, to help someone we know find the true meaning of Christmas. The fact the departments stores, the town halls, and other public entities are not promoting Christ's birth is a wake-up call to the churches and each Believer that WE are the ones God has entrusted with this mission. That first Christmas, God didn't entrust that great message with the men of the world, but men of God who were tending their flocks.
May each of us be faithful this Christmas season in being like the shepherds and sharing with the world that 2000 years ago in a manger in Bethlehem, a baby was born. This was not just any baby, but the Savior of the world. God's gift to a fallen world that through this baby they would find the forgiveness of their sins and everlasting life. This baby's name was JESUS, the only name by which man are saved. Let each of us who have accepted Him into our hearts and lives by faith declare HIS birth and hope to this lost world this Christmas.