I remember distinctly when as a kid I quit believing in Santa Claus. Dad had put my brothers and me to bed this one Christmas Eve. But, we were too excited with Christmas expectations to go to sleep. Dad emphasized that Santa would not stop at our house while we were still awake.
It was uncanny that we were getting a good snowfall outside, and the very moment after Dad tried to coerce us to sleep, we heard a rough rasping sound go by our house with a jingle-jingle and blinking lights. We were convinced that it was indeed Santa Claus passing our house because we were not yet asleep. Dad said he could not be sure if Santa would turn around and come back. We whined in protest at the thought. It was not long before each of us went to sleep.
The next day, I was outside playing in the front yard. Suddenly, something passed by our house with the same rough rasping sound with the accompanying jingle-jingle. There were also blinking lights — on a big, yellow-painted dump truck — with a big plow on the front scraping and pushing snow off to the side of the road.
In that moment, it occurred to me that what we heard the night before was not Santa Claus passing by our house, but no more than that snow plow. My belief in Santa Claus was shattered by that realization. As I stood there watching the plow go down the road, my belief in Santa Claus drizzled away like the flurrying snow.
You and I know how our flimsy beliefs in life develop reasons for fading away and having our minds changed about a given thing. For example, I used to believe that the BALTIMORE Colts was the best NFL team. But, when the team moved from our general area to Indianapolis, I was so disappointed that my mind changed about them to the point that I do not care to this day whether Indianapolis wins a game or not. For a while, I USED to like the Dallas Cowboys. When they lost the Ice Bowl to the Green Bay Packers December 31st, 1967, 24-17, on a (stupid!) quarterback sneak by Bart Starr, I absolutely could not stand the thought that Dandy Don and the Boys lost to my brother’s favorite team (oh, the inhumanity!). So, my mind changed that day about the Dallas Cowboys, and it has stayed changed about them ever since — I dislike them.
These three insignificant incidences in my life cited serve to underscore how we might change our beliefs about things we formerly considered rock solid. But, now consider the issue of Christmas, for the Biblical facts are yearly assaulted with concerns that have a world-based view rather than a Bible-based view. As a consequence, people get let down. Others are confused about what is the truth. People harbor such bitterness they cannot worship and be joyful.
Nonetheless, the truth that has come out of Heaven is firm, involving the following indelible facts: to be explicitly celebrated at Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ. He is the Promised Messiah, the divine Son of God, the “…Lamb of God, which takes away the sins of the world.” He was Virgin born, His birth was gloriously announced, and His birth was divinely protected. He was born in the town that was predicted in the Old Testament. He was expected according to Prophet Isaiah’s prophecy: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”
If you want your Christmas season to be personally fulfilling, if you want what you believe about Christmas to be rock-solid and enduring, stay close to the Bible. The Christmas story is not myth. It is not illusion. It is not conjecture.
It will not let you down like those Cowboys did me.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.