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Missing Christmas

Back in 2007 I wrote a letter to the editors of local newspapers about how people miss Christmas. Below is the content of that letter which I thought I should share with the readers of this column as well:

Each year many Barbadians miss Christmas. Of course, this may seem an absurd statement since the season has always been celebrated to the maximum in this country.

Yet, there are those who miss Christmas because they are too preoccupied. At Christmas they are busy with shopping, house beautification and decorating, parties, concerts, school programmes; and some are preoccupied with long working hours. No wonder some people are so exhausted when Christmas comes that they spend most of the day in bed. Indeed, many people miss the true significance of Christmas because they are busy.

In his book The Miracle of Christmas, Rev. Dr. John F. MacArthur offers a number of other reasons why people miss Christmas. Three of them are now offered for our consideration.

First, some people miss Christmas for the same reason that Herod did. He missed it because of jealous fear. Because of fear he had scores of male children from two years old and under slaughtered for fear that one of them might be the true king of the Jews.

Some Barbadians don’t mind commemorating Jesus’ birth, they don’t mind asking for His help when they get into trouble, they don’t mind using Him sometimes as a sort of spiritual guide. They are even willing to be called Christians — but not if He insists on being their king.

For then He might be a threat to their priorities, their values, and their morals. They are as fearful of losing control over their own lifestyles as mad Herod was of losing his position of king.

Second, there are those of my countrymen whose actions are identical to the chief priests and scribes. This is what MacArthur had to say about this group: “The chief priest and scribes knew exactly where Christ was to be born … and they never ever bothered to walk the few miles south to Bethlehem to find out for themselves if the Messiah indeed had been born.”

They missed Christmas because of “Indifference… They didn’t care… Their Messiah was not really important to them.”

Today indifference is a common reaction to Christ who came as the Babe of Bethlehem. People are lost in their self-righteousness and self-sufficiency. They don’t need Him. So they just ignore Him.

Third, there are those who missed that first Christmas because of religion. That is strange, isn’t it. But religion was what caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to miss Christmas.

“The people of Jerusalem were very religious. Jerusalem was the hub of religious activity in Israel. The Temple was there, and everyone who wanted to make a sacrifice had to come to Jerusalem. The people were so busy with religious ritual that they missed the reality,” say Dr. MacArthur.

He further states that religion can be a deadly trap. It can give people a false sense of spirituality.

Religion, not a relationship with Christ, has caused many people in this country to miss Christmas, and also to forfeit all other blessings God had in store for them.

Fellow Barbadians, do not let busyness, jealous fear, prideful indifference or religious ritual cause you to miss Christmas this year.

“Let’s put the record straight about the real meaning of Christmas,” says author J. John in the book, What’s the Point of Christmas. “Christmas is about the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. Jesus Christ came into the world to rescue us from the mess we were in. This is the gift of Christmas. But, like all our Christmas gifts, He needs to be received.”

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