The Truth About Christmas
The Truth About Christmas

This Christmas editorial from December 25, 2005, was written by Mark A. Taylor, who served as editor of Christian Standard from 2003 until earlier this year.


By Mark A. Taylor

Because I’m a romantic, I love all the traditions and fun of Christmastime. But this year some national magazine editors don’t seem to share my nostalgic attachment to the holiday. In fact, I wonder if they enjoy Christmas at all, since they’ve printed so much about how simply to survive it.

For example, here are warnings contained in just one of my December magazines:

• If you don’t handle leftovers properly, they’ll make you sick.

• More people die of heart attacks in December than any other month.

• Combined with holiday stress, working overtime in December can wear you out and cause accidents.

• Bosses usually remember the stupid things people say at holiday office parties.

• Christmas decorations can kill your cat.

My goodness—what happened to “’tis the season to be jolly”?

Of course, even I realize that Christmas can be difficult, and this has nothing to do with spoiled stuffing or toxic holly berries. The grieving, the lonely, or those who’ve lost their jobs are vulnerable amid holiday merrymaking they don’t enjoy. And Iraq and Katrina and Rita have made this year especially difficult—just like the first Christmas.

There was nothing romantic about the birth of Christ. It happened far away from home, and his poor parents couldn’t even find a room for the event. It was announced to common men whose work schedules kept them from worshiping God as religious leaders thought they should. King Herod was so threatened by what he thought was happening that he ordered kingdom-wide infanticide. Poverty. Fear. Confusion. Death. These were the context for the birth of Christ.

And one thing more: Great joy, as those who first received Christ were struck with wonder at what God had done.

In the final analysis, neither the romantic nor the cynic has Christmas right. Christmas is for realists—those who know that life is ultimately always difficult, but that our problems don’t tell the story of what life is really about. We can have hope that sees past Christmas glitter and through December tears to the Savior who was God in flesh.

He came in the body of a tiny infant, but that’s not the most unbelievable part of the story. He became a man who submitted to a death more gruesome than most of us have ever witnessed, because he loved me! But the really remarkable part is this: He rose from his grave and returned to Heaven, and he’s promised to come to earth again!

That’s why we celebrate. Regardless of what’s happening at my house this holiday, his promise to save me from the tinsel and the tension of this world gives me reason to carry on.

That’s not nostalgia. It’s the truth.

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