As I write this commentary, much of Wisconsin is bracing for what might be the first big snowstorm of the season and some in the northern part of our state are still reeling from a snowstorm that hit last week.
I suspect those dreaming of a white Christmas will have their dreams realized this year. For a short time, the brown and lifeless brush and grass of fall will be covered by pristine, bright white, almost blinding, snow. The sharp, leafless tree branches will be softened by white snow clinging to them, making for almost breath-taking beauty here in our state. Everywhere, that which is dirty and grimy— maybe even downright filthy—will, for a while, look clean because of the blanket of snow we will almost surely have this Christmas season. And in this we see the essence of Christmas.
Jesus Christ’s incarnation, His birth in the form of a human baby, is the first step in God’s plan for covering our sins, for their being washed white as snow. This sinless Son of God, this Creator of all Life and of the Universe, this King of kings and Lord of Lords, would ultimately, through His sacrificial death, become the pure “snow” that covers our filthiness, that cleanses our hearts, that softens our sharpness, that makes us dead and lifeless creatures, alive—quickened—and beautiful and acceptable to a Holy God.
Not to disrespect Irving Berlin, the author of the beautiful song “White Christmas,” but we know that much of the beautiful snow so many of us want at Christmas will pretty quickly be either made filthy by traffic of all sorts or will melt, leaving us, once again, with a rather ugly winter landscape. But the truth of Christmas is that the pure driven “snow” of Jesus Christ will never be soiled, will never melt. His forgiveness, the righteousness He imputes to those who believe in Him and repent of their sins, is everlasting.
In recent days I’ve heard people insinuate that Christians make the proverbial mountain out of a molehill when we push back against replacing Merry Christmas with “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s greetings.” “What’s the difference?” they say. “Who really cares?” Sadly, sometimes even Christians take that attitude.
When we really understand the importance of Christ mas, the birth of Christ, we know that removing the word that describes this world-changing event is truly a big deal. When we remove Christ from the center of this observance, we make it harder for people to know Him, the only One Who can give mankind what we desperately need—eternal forgiveness of our sins, eternal life with God the Father, eternal change in our behavior—eternally making our filthiness as white as, as pure as, new-driven snow.
I have to believe that the ongoing push, both subtle and overt, to change the focus of Christmas away from Christ in our society, is orchestrated by Satan himself. Satan wants no one to know this Christ, this Savior. Every time he can successfully remove references to Him from our society, Satan knows he has kept the Truth from those he wants to ensnare in his web of lies. Keeping Christ out of Christmas would be one of Satan’s masterstrokes.
Instead of just ignoring all the push to remove Christ, we should be doing everything we can to keep Him the center of this celebration. We need to wish everyone we know Merry Christmas and God’s blessings at this glorious time of year. This is a story that demands telling to everyone, young and old, rich and poor, educated and uneducated.
Whether or not we have a White Christmas here in Wisconsin this year, we have something infinitely better because of Christmas. We have a Savior who entered this human life, endured what we endure, felt our pain, and yet was without sin. More importantly, this perfect, sinless Savior paid our ugly, filthy sin-debt some 33 years after His birth, ensuring that forever we will be viewed not as filthy, vile sinners but as snow-white, redeemed children of God. That’s worth standing up for every day of the year.
So, this Christmas as you watch the snow fall and find yourself humming, whistling, or singing “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” remember that as a believer, your life is made clean, pure white because of Christmas. And then go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere—that Jesus Christ is Born.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
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