How much do you know about Christmas? I would like for you to take a Christmas quiz with me today. Are you ready?
How many wise men came to visit Jesus after his birth? Three? Actually we do not know. The Bible doesn’t say. Three is the traditional number because they brought three gifts. But the Bible simply says, “Magi came from the east bearing gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”
Okay, next question. How many shepherds were there? Three? Once again, we do not know for sure - the Bible never says.
OK, here is an easy one: Was Jesus born in a manger? Yes, you say? Sorry. He was placed in a manger after his birth. But he was not born there.
Had enough of my silly quiz? I can’t say that I blame you. But there is a reason for this exercise. How much really do you know about Christmas? And how much of that story do you share with others.
Almost everyone knows that Christmas has something to do with the Christian faith. But a survey taken of school age children, in a major city in our nation, indicated that less than 50 percent even knew that Christmas was the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Can you imagine? Surely that must have been some European nation, or perhaps Asia or Africa. But it was right here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Why do you think that to be the case?
Well, to some extent it has to do with the nonsense of calling a school vacation “Winter Holiday” instead of “Christmas Holiday.” There is no real justification for that. And there is certainly no violation of church and state to call these days what they really are.
But the real problem lies somewhere else. Here it is: Those of us who call ourselves Christians often celebrate the season in exactly the same way as those who do not call themselves Christians. We spend ourselves into oblivion and stress out over who is coming to visit and who is giving gifts to whom. And we leave Jesus out altogether.
I am neither surprised nor disappointed when non-Christians do not act like Christians. We should not expect them to do so. But those of us who claim the name of Christ should know better. And even more, we should do better.
May I appeal to you early in the month of December to keep Christ at the center of all you do this Christmas season? Celebrate him and his birth. Honor him and worship him. You can still enjoy your time with friends and family. In fact, those times will be even sweeter as you make the main thing the main thing. Jesus is the reason for the season. Celebrate him this month.