The battle rages on. Happy Holidays? Seasons Greetings? Merry Christmas? Some take offense at one or more of these expressions. For me, I stay out of the argument. None of them can be found in the pages of the Bible, yet all are acceptable ways of forwarding a kind greeting.
The best words of Christmas were written many millennia ago by the prophet Isaiah.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
To my way of thinking, the Christmas season continues to be a great opportunity to share the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the most materialistic shopping malls, familiar tunes with Trinitarian words resound throughout the shops and corridors. Forget why the malls and radio stations play this music. They may mean it for one thing, but the Lord of all creation uses it as He wills. Also at this time of year, people are more open to spontaneous conversation and smiles.
Yesterday, as is our custom, my daughter and I visited a senior center -- she as soloist with me assuming the role of sound manager. We arrived with our music amplification machine, microphone, and repertoire in hand ready to perform for as many as could be gathered to be our audience. Social coordinators of these facilities are happy to use us as a way to bring the residents together for a social time. As we were setting up, the coordinator was apologetic, not sure how many would show up. I assured her that numbers were of little concern to us. Those who showed up were the ones who would hear the concert.
An instrumental prelude signaled the residents to gather for the concert. During this time, I had a chance to talk to a number of them and hear how they came to live at this apartment complex. It never ceases to amaze me how ready, willing, and eager senior citizens are to share experiences and knowledge of their seven to eight decades of life. By the time my daughter's singing began, there were 20 -25 audience members mouthing the words to the familiar Christmas hymns she sang. Some closed their eyes and raised their hands in prayer. One shared the concert with a friend by calling her on a cell phone and holding it up through most of the concert. Later the coordinator who invited us reported that she's never seen this group so quiet. She said she checked on a number of them to see if they were still breathing – they were so engrossed in listening to the singing that they were hardly moving! One woman expressed her appreciation for the "religious" songs chosen, as she doesn't hear them often anymore.
By the time we finished, all in attendance knew that this talented young lady was homeschooled AND a Christian. The Holy Spirit took our efforts and maximized them in ways we couldn’t imagine. One gentleman, a minister from Burma, told me that you can always tell when the person signing the music believes what she's saying. "Your daughter," he smiled, "certainly does!"
I encourage all homeschooling families to make use of all those instrument and dance lessons you've been funding over the years. Find some folks (young or old) who don’t have many visitors and share your children with them. The rewards certainly outweigh the efforts.
'Tis the season to share Jesus!