Yesterday, I attended the Christmas program hosted by the church that I attend here in Roanoke Rapids. Quite a few of my students and colleagues attend the church as well, and were participating in the program, so it was an enjoyable experience.
The Christmas program’s theme was “Christmas Around the World”, and the program displayed celebrations from Zimbabwe, Ireland, France, Argentina, and the United States. It was a beautiful way to demonstrate that God’s love is truly for the world, regardless of how it is celebrated.
The celebration caused me to reflect on how we think about Christmas, and how it, along with Christianity, is promoted in the media. I’m often frustrated when people display my faith as one that is hateful towards others for a variety of reasons. I feel like far too often we hear John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believe in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life), but we hardly ever hear the next verse, John 3:17 (“For God sent not his Son to the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved).
God’s gift to us is Jesus, not to condemn us, but to save us. Christmas should be a time of joy, as we reflect on the most precious and thoughtful gift that we’ve ever been given. It is not a time to down others about their faith, or lack thereof. The best way that we can promote our faith is by upholding the same tolerance, love, grace, and kindness that God has shown to us- not just by His gift, but in our daily lives.
Until next time…