Have you ever noticed how the tone and tenor of television content and even interaction with locals immediately switches right after Christmas in the week prior to New Years?
Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #60 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.
One of the things I have always found disconcerting each year is how fast the focus or, for want of a better word, the messaging changes immediately after Christmas during the week before New Year’s Day. It’s not just noticeable; it’s dramatic.
During the run-up to Christmas there’s season’s greetings, Merry Christmas, love, babe-in-a-manger, carols, peace, hope, and general good feelings.
The next day after Christmas, when some folks inexplicably for me take down their tree and decorations, there’s a shift, especially on TV and in media. Now the messaging is louder; it’s about partying, drinking, rock bands, all-nighters, clubs, and maybe New Year’s resolutions.
Now I know this is not neat and clean, a sharp divide wherein no partying and consumer materialism took place prior to Christmas and no peace and good feelings remain for New Years. But the contrast is still evident.
I’ve always thought it was a switch from bits and pieces of a Christian worldview and the Christmas story sort of borrowed by the world for a time, because people hunger for what this story provides and want peace and good will toward men, to a kind of secular or worldly worldview that celebrates the now and the individual—each of us as “me,” prosperity over peace, and hedonism.
If this seems overstated, I encourage you to watch the late-night Christmas programs on Christmas Eve, then watch the late-night programs on New Year’s Eve. If you haven’t noticed the contrast yet, you will now.
Others can have the New Year’s riotous engagements. I much prefer the message of the angels, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).
In the Christmas story found in Luke 2, the Scripture tells of the Savior’s humble birth, the angels appearing to the shepherds in the field by their flocks, and the shepherds’ immediate departure to see the baby in the manger. Then Scripture notes that Mary, likely just a teenager and the mother of Jesus, along with others who heard the shepherds, being “amazed” and that Mary treasured up these things and “pondered” them in her heart.
Amazed and pondered. To me, these verbs summarize well how we should and can respond to the Christmas story today.
We can be amazed, to wonder at the striking aesthetics of Christmas decorations and celebrations, to enjoy how different people decorate their homes or how various public displays are presented. We can be amazed at church and family Christmas traditions, Christmas carols, bright colored lights, and Christmas trees. We can be amazed at the way different cultures around the world invest themselves in infinite varieties of Christmas traditions. It’s not wrong, in fact it is OK, to embrace and appreciate the beauty of Christmas and the season, to be amazed.
Then it is important for us to ponder, to think about the meaning of the Christmas story, the Christ child, his sinless life and work, the cross, and the resurrection through which God the Father shares his love with the world. We can ponder the Good News, the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Christ. We can ponder the startling and humbling fact that the Sovereign God loves you and me. We should do as the shepherds did, glorify and praise God for all the things that we have heard and seen in the Christmas story. With Mary, we should ponder.
I use the word “story” not to imply myth or fiction but to communicate written history or “his story.” The Christmas account is fact of history past with a far-reaching impact into eternity like no other. This, too, can cause us to be amazed and to ponder.
Charles Dickens ends his 1843 classic “A Christmas Carol,” saying of Ebenezer Scrooge, “It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!”
Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.
And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022
*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.