Well, my little daughter showed me just the other day that I must be doing something right. Last year she received a Care Bears Christmas CD, but for some reason or another, we had never listened to it. I found it this past weekend in her playroom, still in the plastic wrapping. We decided to unwrap it and give it a listen (at least it would serve as a change from the Chipmunks which we had been listening to for about 2 hours beforehand). I don't remember what the first song was, but it was relatively innocuous. Then the second song comes on and it is "Joy to the World!" As soon as the singing starts, my daughter and I started singing along. However, much to my dismay, we notice that the words we are singing did not match those coming out of the speakers. The opening line, for instance, had been changed to, "Joy to the World, its Christmas time." What ever happened to "the Lord is come?"
This children's CD had literally taken Christ completely out of one of the most popular Christmas hymns ever. Now don't get me wrong, I do not insist that every single song we sing at Christmas time be a Christian hymn. I'll join in a round of "Jingle Bells" or "Sleigh Ride" any day. But this wasn't just a matter of the Care Bears singing secular Christmas songs. They had taken probably the most famous Christian Christmas song and changed it to remove any semblance of Jesus from it. They had taken a religious song and made it secular.
Now I would suspect that most 5 year old little girls wouldn't care. All they want is to listen to the Care Bears. But my daughter insisted that I turn the CD off. We hadn't even gotten two songs in, but she was so upset that the Care Bears would take Christ out of Christmas (my words, not hers) that she refused to listen.
It is very easy this time of year to get caught up in all the pageantry and commercialism that secular society imposes upon Christmas. But I encourage you all to remember that ultimately this is a birthday party. It is Jesus' birthday party. The slight twist though is that on this birthday, the child himself is the gift, and it is all the guests (i.e., us) who get the best present of all. Perhaps the best present we can give to the "birthday boy" this year is the gift of ourselves. Our time, our talents, our finances ... whatever God is calling you to use for His service. So here's hoping that all of us Christians can have the same spirit my daughter showed, and that we never become so accustomed to the secular holiday that we are willing to go along with the tendecy not only to ignore Christ, but to consciously remove Him from His own birthday celebration.
God bless us, every one.