Christmas these days seems to stress people out more than give them the joy that it was meant to give. As people get busier and busier, they find themselves always looking down: at the next text message, the next email, the next status update on Facebook. What has all this racing around, looking down at some electronic device done? Could it be that the stress so often accompanying this time of year is of our own making? It’s made us forget times that were simpler…Christmases past that seemed to hold more magic, more beauty, more imagination.
Maybe it’s time to stop looking down for a while and start to notice things again. Today we have a Christmas Moon—a rare event– a full moon on Christmas Day. It’s the first time in nearly four decades that that has happened, and it won’t happen again for another 19 years. The sky was beautiful last night, and the moon was bright. It’s not politically correct any more to say “Merry Christmas” or to even use THAT WORD in some places (like our public schools), but last night’s sky, at least where I was, reminded me of that first Christmas that gave us this opportunity to celebrate the birth of Christ every year.
Even though we don’t know the exact date of the Savior’s birth, it still started with a starry night and Wise Men from the East who had been observing the nighttime skies and studying ancient prophesies for quite some time before they noticed one star in particular. It seemed to be different from the others—bigger, brighter, and more magnificent. So they followed it, for what may have been as long as 2 years after the actual birth. When they found the Young King and His parents, they presented him with precious gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Regular folks like shepherds found Him too (even sooner than the learned mean of means did)…and the Bible tells us the child’s mother treasured all of these things in her heart. She took nothing for granted, and I can imagine that every year that went by as he grew into a boy, then a man, that she looked back with awe and fondness on the Holy Night when she first held her child in her arms.
It’s often said, “Christmas is for kids”. How wrong people are who say that. I don’t think you can really appreciate all that this season and this day has to offer until you have some wisdom of years behind you. You may not remember every gift you got for Christmas over the years, but you most likely will recall the stories of Christmases past—funny or poignant moments that you talk about together around a table full of good things to eat. Stories that are told year after year and they never seem to get old—some get even better with each retelling. Like the young woman Mary of the manger scene, you’ve been storing up those treasures of memories in your heart. They don’t get old, wear out, need batteries or fall apart after 3 days.
If you’ve been stressed out for the last several days or weeks because you were preparing for this day, consider trying something new next year: re-focus on what Christmas really is about. Before this becomes Christmas past, set aside the distractions and look around you. Return to the manger, Follow the star.
Merry Christmas, Everyone!
How do you celebrate Veterans’ Day without those pesky displays of patriotism? Just ask the powers that be at Seattle Pacific University. In an effort to refrain from offending anyone…hmmm…it was announced that the Christian school would not have the presentation of the colors or the reciting of The Pledge of Allegiance during their chapel this week when they hold their Veterans’ Day remembrance.
After this news came out last Friday in the conservative student-run website The College Fix, the school—one day later—reversed their decision and now the Veterans’ Day service at the chapel will include The Pledge and presentation of the colors. The SPU Military & Veteran Support Group launched a Facebook campaign to get the word out about their school’s stance that “a few people” would be made “uncomfortable” if The Pledge were recited during a Christian service.
Of course, that makes no sense at all, given that our nation as founded began as a place where people (the Pilgrims) escaped to so that they could specifically practice Christianity and where they would be free to read the Bible without having to go through the Church of England (the King) and accept whatever interpretation came down from him. So, reciting The Pledge, especially during a Veterans’ Day service, would be entirely appropriate at a Christian university.
But that involves knowing history. Today’s college campuses are more interested in ridiculous speech codes and protecting students from “micro-aggressions”. Instead of being hotbeds of new and diverse thinking, most college campuses today are run by far-left professors and administrators who believe the only people that it’s okay to offend are Christians…and apparently the military. Many campuses today are filled with children in adult bodies who feel threatened and “uncomfortable” if they encounter beliefs that challenge their own.
The Constitution—when taught at all— is presented as a “living, breathing document” that should change with the times and be molded to the whims of whomever is in power. Students don’t learn any longer that our Constitution was meant to be a firm foundation of eternal truths upon which the strongest most influential nation in world history was built.
To even introduce the idea that displays of patriotism are inappropriate on Veterans’ Day—at a Christian university, no less—is a little ominous. People in a free society should expect that at some point, they may encounter something that will offend them. The chapel service at Seattle Pacific isn’t even mandatory for students, so anyone who thinks they would be offended by what happens there could just not show up.
But that would be too easy. It’s much better (in the minds of some) to strip away every patriotic vestige from true American holidays for everyone else…and give a slap in the face to those who served our country in the process.