by Tony Nester

Believing What We Sing: A Christmas Sermon
Tony Nester
John 1:1-18

If your mail is anything like ours you're already getting Christmas catalogs at your house. I know, it's not yet Thanksgiving, but marketing companies practice what's been called ''season treason.'' Season treason refers to shortening the time in between holidays in order to keep people thinking it's time to buy more, and then more again.

I've noticed for some time that catalogs and magazines show us Christmas Trees whose ornaments have nothing to do with the Christ of Christmas.

The ornaments include snowmen, apples, skis, train cars, play animals, team mascots, and anything else that people find cute or interesting. But there are few, if any, Christ-oriented symbols - maybe an angel but few if any crosses or words of Scripture or signs of the Nativity. This, too, is season treason - taking away the core reality of Christmas and putting in its place something that symbolizes our interests rather than the gift that God has given us - His only Son.

So, what are we to do? It's no good complaining to everyone that there's little of ''Christ'' left in Christmas - people don't warm up to Christians who are full of complaints. And things go very badly if we try to force our beliefs on people don't share them. Faith has to be freely chosen - not put upon people who don't want it.

So, what are we to do? I believe on answer is to sing what we believe, and believe what we sing. Singing our beliefs is far better than complaining about the commercialization of Christmas or trying to pressure others to be more religious than they are.

Christians have always sung their beliefs. The Book of Psalms is the Bible's song book - and there are 150 songs. When Moses led the Israelites to safety across the Red Sea, first thing the people did was to celebrate with singing: ''I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously, horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.'' (Exodus 15:1). When Mary ...

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