Full disclosure – it’s been quite some time since I’ve watched a full episode of the evening news. It’s not that I’m uninformed. Like tens of millions of Americans, and perhaps just like you, my mobile news feed provides far more information from sources I know and trust, meaning the days are long gone when I count on networks to filter and present their particular versions of what they think I should know. The same can be said of printed news. As far as I can recall, the only newspaper I purchased this year was the Thanksgiving edition, and that was for the purpose of viewing ads for Black Friday sales, which turned out to be the same sales going on since late October. That was a quick read.
So it was of little surprise to me when, just two weeks ago, I took a step of faith and tuned in to a local news broadcast in hopes of hearing something uplifting at the end of a year which has been anything but. Less than ten minutes later, the experiment ended and the TV was off. Even now, when we all need encouragement, comfort, and a reason to believe there’s more to life than perpetual chaos, the bad news is what we are forced to endure. Even at Christmas. Even at the time of year which has traditionally been the most joyous holiday for generations of Americans.
It’s almost as if a cancel culture world is turning its sights on what it hopes will finally extinguish the greatest cultural influencer in all of human history – the Child, born of a virgin, who came to give us all the only real hope we will ever have.
There is no surprise here. For many decades, the perception of what Christmas means has shifted in American culture. Some attempts to change the holiday’s name have not fared terribly well, such as changing the name of a Christmas tree to a “holiday” tree. A more effective strategy has been to let the name of the holiday stand while rebranding it as a season of romance, snowflakes, and magical moments. Call it what you will, as long as it doesn’t point to a Messiah, to the one named Jesus.
But to the more aggressive, the time has come to drive coffin nails into the manger, once and for all.
Others have tried to do the same for over two thousand years. All of them have failed.
Now, if Christmas were a myth, if it were no more than a fantastic tale passed down from generation to generation, with no connection to historical truth, then Christmas indeed is in danger of being scrubbed in deference to, say, a winter solstice celebration.
But the truth of Christmas is far deeper than any myth might dare claim.
Who could have dreamed that after four hundred years of prophetic silence, a young virgin would be visited by an angel announcing she would be with child?
Who could have arranged for a Roman census to be issued resulting in Joseph, Mary, and the unborn baby Jesus traveling to Bethlehem and arriving just in time for the baby to be born?
Who could have supposed that a King would exchange His throne for a feeding trough?
Who could have ordered the night sky to be filled with heavenly hosts declaring the Savior had come?
Who could have chosen lowly shepherds, instead of the rich and the powerful, to be the first to receive the good news?
Who could have imagined the Child would change the world and fulfill over 300 prophecies?
Who could have dared to believe that the One, who at birth was wrapped in swaddling cloths, would one day be wrapped in a scarlet robe, beaten, stripped, scourged, crowned with thorns, and nailed to a cross?
Who could have known the entire mission of the baby born in Bethlehem, on that very first Christmas, was to pay sin’s debt in full for all who will believe in Him?
Who could have guessed the Creator of life would prove His power over death, for all eternity, by rising from the dead and leaving behind an empty tomb?
The stuff of mere myth? Not for the apostles who physically walked with Him, knew Him, witnessed His resurrection, and gave their lives as martyrs. No one does that for a myth.
Nor for the millions of believers throughout the centuries, up to the very hour you are reading this, who are outcast, beaten, imprisoned, and even killed for the sake of the One whose birth we celebrate on Christmas day.
Trying to cancel Christmas is nothing new. Herod the Great, Nero, Stalin, Mao, and all tyrants like them have tried and failed, because Christmas is far greater than any of them ever comprehended. Empires, and regimes come and go. The truth and hope of Christmas still remains.
Can you cancel culture? Maybe. But you can never cancel the Truth the abides in hearts of all who believe. You can’t cancel Christmas because you can’t cancel Jesus.
I don’t know what headlines will dominate tonight’s evening news, but I do know what a hurting world needs to hear, now more than ever:
Rejoice, for the Savior is come!
It is on this simple yet profound declaration that I place my hope this Christmas, and I sincerely hope that you do as well.
May you and your family have a blessed Christmas.
President and CEO