by David Richman
I am sighting in on deer hunting week/camp as I write this. Also, I am looking ahead and “sighting in” on Christmas, too. Let me confess something that I feel a little guilty about – I like Thanksgiving better than Christmas.
Here is why. Thanksgiving Day brings family gatherings, hunting, a big turkey dinner, pies, football games, etc. The giving part of this holiday is the “giving of thanks” for all that God has provided. And the good thing is that we can do it without owing anything at the end of the day. (“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another:…” – Romans 13:8)
Christmas is a different story. I love and appreciate the miracle of God being born in the flesh. He became flesh and dwelt among us and was able to be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. (Hebrews 4:15) However, our Christmas celebration quickly changes to the wise men and the “giving of gifts,” and with this change comes the pressure to come up with a list of recipients and buy them the perfect gifts. (For what it’s worth – the wise men brought one gift each for Jesus.) Then there is the strain on our budget and pressure on our marital relationship. On top of this, the Christmas story itself is not complete. What benefit would it be for Christ to be born, if He did not go on to live a sinless life and ultimately be killed and shed His blood as an atonement for our sins?
Then there is the introduction of additional characters and conflicting messages. For Santa Claus to visit with gifts, we are told “you’d better be good, you’d better not pout…” To receive God’s gift of eternal life we are not required to be good or even to have a thankful, non-pouting attitude. We are told, “You are lost in your sins, all have sinned; but while we were yet in our sins, Jesus died for us.” “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Thanksgiving Day focuses more on our thankfulness to God for His provision for our physical needs. Christmas’ focus is on Christ – His miraculous birth, yes, but let’s not forget His provision of the only way to be accepted by the Father, His sinless life, His works of righteousness, His death, His burial, His resurrection, His acceptance by the Father and His completed plan of salvation. Now that’s something to believe in, to exercise faith in, and for which to be eternally thankful!
I’m switching my favorite holiday to Christmas! What do you say, men? Are you with me on this?
David Richman served as the administrative director of CHEWV for over a decade, retiring in 2015. Parents of nine children, David and his wife Kelley are proud grandparents of five (so far).