The Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s Season is beginning to descend on us. With it comes many activities coupled with gracious opportunities to share the gospel of Christ.
The busiest travel days this year will be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday following Thanksgiving. More Americans travel to be with family on Thanksgiving than any other holiday, and it is estimated that over 80 percent of Americans will eat turkey this Thanksgiving Day.
Since Thanksgiving comes later this year, there will be fewer shopping days from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
“Jingle Bells” has become a popular song for this season, yet it was originally a minstrel song in New England before becoming a Thanksgiving song in Savannah, Ga. “Jingle Bells” was first known as “One Horse Open Sleigh.” It was later rebranded and became a Christmas song. It was written by James Lord Pierpont, who grew up in New England. Both Medford, Mass., and Savannah, Ga., claim the song was written in their respective locales. Wherever it was written, there is little doubt it was written about the snow and sleigh rides in New England. Even though it had a racist beginning, it has evolved into a popular Christmas song.
There are many things that are not what they seem. Christmas, for example, is a holiday, but nowhere in Scripture does it hint that Jesus was born on Dec. 25. Charles Spurgeon, the famous 18th-century British pastor, once said, “lf there be any day in the year of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which the Savior was born, it is the twenty-fifth of December.”
Even though Spurgeon had no respect for the religious observance of the day, he stated, “Yet I love it as a family institution.” Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” when Spurgeon was 9 years old. He loved the story and believed the Christmas holiday should benefit hardworking people. He challenged employers to give their employees the day off with pay.
Spurgeon also preached on the birth of Christ many times. For example, on Dec. 24, 1865, he preached from Luke 2:17-20 a message titled, “Holy Work for Christmas.” He spoke on “The Birth of Christ” from Isaiah 9:6 on Dec. 25, 1859.
He typically spent Christmas Day visiting the children in his orphanages. It is reported that he even dressed up like Santa for the kids! He said, “God forbid I should be such a Puritan as to proclaim the annihilation of any day of rest which falls to the lot of the laboring man. I wish there were half-a-dozen holidays in the year.”
The stretch of time in which we are entering now is a time to worship God, share His truth, enjoy family, rest, and serve someone in need. Our American Christmas season is a mixture of secular, pagan and Christian traditions. It is a secular holiday for most and can be enjoyed by all. It is also an opportunity to meditate on the miracle of the incarnation and worship the resurrected Savior. I hope your Thanksgiving is blessed, your Christmas is joyous, and your New Year is filled with His fellowship.