Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Message of Christmas?

Today we attended a nearby church, not our regular church but one closer to home. This happened to be the week the congregation performed their annual Christmas play which included a Santa theme, along with the message of Christ's birth.

Coming from a more traditional background, I prefer musical cantatas to holiday plays.  Truthfully, I really prefer that Santa stay out of church.  I think the meaning of Christmas faces enough challenges  in today's mass media society.  It's not the responsibility of our churches to preach the gospel according to Santa.  I prefer my Christmas story, especially in church, to focus exclusively on Christ.

The story being told by the program was entertaining and it did relay the message that Christ is an important part of Christmas.  After all, they had the main authority of Christmas giving Christ an endorsement.  In the congregation, the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, got plenty of opportunity to enjoy the performances of their elves, shepherds, angels and lambs.  The production was a diverting showcase of talent and participation.

After the play, the church continued with the normal business of Sunday as represented by the serving of communion and the collecting of offering.  I have to admit that I laughed out loud, a laugh of disbelief and astonishment, when I saw Santa and Mrs. Claus carry the communion plates to the front of the church.  Santa and the Mrs., along with others still in costume, proceeded to serve communion.

I'm still in confused shock over the bread and body of Christ being distributed by Santa.  If I'm finding it hard to get my head around the picture, I wonder how the children present are coping.  I think more than anything I'm sad.  I'm sad that Santa is so much a part of Christmas that seeing him serve communion didn't cause distress.  I'm sad that Santa who is not real, is more believable than God/Christ, who is.  I'm sad that the Christian world can't figure out a way to celebrate Christmas without calling on Santa to provide the fun.  I'm sad that there is a world full of people who have such little awareness of the sacrifice that Christ made and so, passing the plates that represent that sacrifice is just a job for Santa or his elves.

Above all, today has made me aware of the necessity of teaching my children carefully.  There is no room to think that someone else will be proclaiming the message of Christ to them.  It is my job and I am to take it seriously.  The message of Christmas is mine to proclaim.  I pray that my message, to my children and to all, will be clear. 

For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.     -John 3:16-17

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