When J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie penned these words in the early 1930s I doubt they realized that it would become an annual Christmas classic. I doubt they knew these words would be loved and sung by children around the world for generations to come.
This post is not about whether it is right or wrong to celebrate Christmas. It isn’t about whether it is right or wrong to allow our children to believe in Santa Claus. If you want to read a couple of outstanding articles about these topics I would commend Michael Whitworth’s article at: http://michaelwhitworth.com/2010/11/christmas/
And my brother Dale’s article at: http://www.DaleJenkins.com/regardless
I will simply say for now that I love everything about Christmas. I have since the days of my youth. My mother instilled in us a love for Christmas. It was always her favorite time of year. She loved the festive atmosphere, the cooking, giving gifts, and having our family together.
We buried Mom on Christmas Eve in 2005. It hasn’t been the same since then and this year will be even more difficult. We buried Dad in October of this year. For the first time in my 51 years of life I will not spend any time in Alabama during the holidays. It is a surreal feeling. However, in spite of that particular pain, I still love Christmas.
What this post is really about is the words in that old song, “You better watch out…” Not just because Santa Claus is coming to town, but because you never know who else is watching.
A couple of weeks ago, Laura had gone up to see our grand daughter in Oklahoma for the weekend, and I decided on Saturday to catch up on a few jobs that I had been putting off. One was to get the oil changed in my car. I don’t change my own oil. One reason is because I never seem to find the time. Another reason is because I find coupons that allow me to get it done for about as much as it would cost for to do it myself (my family used to call me “The Coupon King”!). So I had a really good coupon, and called the place to see how long I would have to wait. The guy said, “Bring it on in, there will be no wait.” It took me TEN minutes to get there and by the time I arrived there was a wait?? The fellow said, “I can’t believe it happened, but right after you called, we got busy! It will be an hour before we can work you in. I thought, “Yeah, right, I bet there was no wait.”
I left and decided to check Wal-Mart. I wasn’t very happy as I drove into the service area, but tried to keep my composure. I pulled out my coupon, held it out the window, and said, “Do y’all match other company coupons?” The guy said, “Well sure, for you, Jeff, we do!” I honestly didn’t recognize this gentleman at first, and then he said, “I’m sorry I haven’t been able to visit church lately, they’ve changed my schedule and have me working every Sunday.” I asked him if he could make it to the 6:00 service and he said he would try. Then he said, “Thanks for always being so kind to me when I attend worship!”
His kindness and his attitude had quickly transformed my sour mood. And it’s a good thing. While waiting for the car, I decided to walk over to Sam’s and see what kind of snacks they were giving away (no coupons, but a cheap lunch). While there, I was in a much better mood and ran into four of our outstanding singles from church. They had been to visit one of our elderly members that morning and now they were getting ready for the Singles Christmas party that would take place that night. We had a nice little visit and I went on my way. I prayed a prayer of thanksgiving that my attitude had changed before running into them.
One of the many reasons we had better watch out is because we never know who is watching us. The Apostle Paul instructed us to be an example in the way that we conduct our life (1 Timothy 4:12). Peter added a similar thought in 1 Peter 2:12: “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” The way we conduct ourselves as children of God, during this season, and at every time of the year, can help determine how those around us view God. It can shape how people view the church. It just may help determine where someone close to us spends eternity.
Christians should also keep in mind that there is another One who is watching us at all times. The One who created us, who gave us a new life, and who blesses us every day beyond measure. Hebrews 4:13 says, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”
As you enjoy time with family and loved ones in the coming days, remember who you are, as well as whose you are. Remember that, as a child of God, you are representing Jesus. Be serious about having the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5), following in His footsteps (1 Peter 2:21), and allowing Him to be formed in you (Galatians 4:19). Keep in mind that someone who looks up to you may be watching how you represent the King. Oh yes, allow me to add one more thing. Have a wonderful Christmas!
Dear Father in Heaven, help us remember that we are surrounded every day by people who are watching how we live. Help us, dear God, to live in such away that we will help lead others to Jesus and not turn them away from Jesus. Thank you, Father, for allowing Jesus to come into the world to show us how we should live. Help us, dear God, to love those around us with the love of Jesus. In His Precious Name we pray, Amen.