Blog Post #0999 12/13/2017- Christmas in America

December 13, 2017

Blog Post #0999

 

Jeff W. Horton

 

Christmas in America 

 

When I was very young, I lived for a time with my grandparents. My grandfather, a commercial artist and painter, had designed a beautiful, three-dimensional manger scene for Christmas that was maybe three to four feet long and maybe two to three feet high at its highest, which my grandparents would set in the large window facing the front porch. The manger scene included the obligatory camels, shepherds, a dark evening sky, and a large beautiful star. There were several electric lights as well, which meant the scene had to be plugged in. I’ll never forget how beautiful that manger scene looked from outside on the porch every night during the Christmas season, when I’d come back in after a long day of school or from spending the day hanging out with the neighborhood kids, before going inside.

The Christmas season was without doubt always something very special, a special time for a special event. While we went to church I wouldn’t say my family was overly religious, but I loved to read as a child and the Holy Bible was certainly not excluded from my reading list. I can’t say for certain, but I’d say I’d probably read most of it from front to back by the time I graduated high school which, given my rebellious teenage years, was no small feat. Still, I’m quite sure I never fully grasped the connection between the Birth of Christ and the “magic” that made Christmas the wonderful, magical time that it is.

I remember spending many Christmas Eves watching Christmas movies like A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, and of course, White Christmas. Christmas was always a very special time growing up, even into young adulthood it felt as if much of the “magic” of Christmas remained throughout much of our popular culture. It seemed as if even then, however, it was starting to wane, that “magic’, or at least the collective feeling in the air that always came with the candy canes, the wreaths, and the festive music.  Was Christmas ever like a Norman Rockwell painting for me? Well, to be honest there may have been a few that were not so far off, though certainly not that many. Still, there was no mistaking the smiles on everyone’s faces, the extra spring in their steps, and the extra courtesy that made its appearance without fail, each and every Christmas.

Why have things changed? I’m not certain I can pin it down to any one thing. Multiculturalism. A growing persecution of Christians in America, something that was literally unheard of when I was a child. It seems everywhere we turn we hear about how Christians are infringing on every possible group on the left, while Christians themselves never seem to have their rights abridged by those on the left. The rise in power of the left following the cultural revolution of the sixties and seventies, a growing apathetic culture, all of it seems to have contributed to the steep decline in the richness of our culture. Christmas now is about everything except Jesus, instead of nothing but Jesus. But should we really be surprised? We’ve kicked God out of our schools, many of our government buildings, and if it were up to some on the left, all vestiges of Christianity would be entirely erased from our culture for eternity. Should we be surprised if God one day turns his back on America? “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:33

It seems that for those of us who enjoyed those Norman Rockwell paintings growing up, and for those of us whom The Little Drummer Boy and Charlie Brown’s Christmas could bring a tear to our eyes when the programs reached a certain part in their respective stories, we’ve reached the end of an era in America.

But Christians everywhere should take heart, however, and remember, it is when the Church has been persecuted the most that it has grown and prospered the most. It’s as if the fires of persecution served to refine the faith of those who chose to believe despite the cost, as opposed who chose to believe because there was no cost.

Maybe things will improve here, maybe they’ll get worse. Either way for those of us who believe, we know how the story ends; God Himself comes down to earth in the flesh and a child is born, He grows up, and lays down his life as a ransom for many, so that we may live.

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

 

From my family to yours,

May God grant you a safe, blessed, joyous, and Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Jeff W. Horton!

 

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