One Stormy Christmas
By Hal Lindsey
A storm is brewing — a storm like none before. It threatens to engulf the world. Its outer bands already fill the skies, affecting people everywhere. The Bible forecasts mighty winds of change and terrible destruction. The full brunt of the storm hasn’t hit yet, but we are already experiencing a powerful foretaste. Confusion, division, rage, brutality, irrationality, folly, meanness, hopelessness, and war are already here and growing.
These things are only a sample of what’s coming, but for many, they are bad enough to make it feel like Christmas just won’t be Christmas this year. For others, it’s not world conditions, but personal tragedy that stands in the way of Christmas.
The 1964 animated television special, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” depicts Santa Claus giving a dire global weather report. “Well, this is it,” he says. “The storm won't subside by tonight. We’ll have to cancel Christmas.” Absurd as that little fantasy is, something about it feels familiar. In certain years, celebration just doesn’t seem appropriate.
During President Kennedy’s visit to Texas in November of 1963, the White House service staff adorned the old mansion with bright and elaborate Christmas decorations. Then an assassin’s bullet cut down the young leader. In short order, Air Force One was flying back to Washington carrying the new President, members of his team, Mrs. Kennedy, and the body of the slain President.
The White House Christmas décor had been festive and beautiful an hour before. Now it seemed garish and inappropriate. The staff didn’t have time to take it down, so someone came up with the idea of covering the decorations with black cloth. By the time Mrs. Kennedy returned, the great house had been transformed from a place of celebration to one of mourning.
But even then, Christmas was not canceled. It was there. Like its symbols beneath the black cloth, Christmas joy remained, waiting to be uncovered again. A few days later, staff members removed the black, and a subdued but real Christmas celebration went into effect.
Neither turmoil nor pain can cancel Christmas. The eternal reality we celebrate rises above all storms. John chapter 1 says, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” That chapter identifies “the Word” as Jesus Christ.
You can rock around the Christmas tree, roast chestnuts on an open fire, and let it snow, snow, snow. That’s fine. But it’s not really Christmas. Christmas celebrates God made flesh and dwelling with human beings, a reality so beautiful and dramatic that it takes our breath away. But there’s even more to Christmas. We find it a couple of chapters over. In John 3:16, Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
God’s love is real — so real that He gave His only begotten Son to die on a cross for you and for me. That’s what Christmas is about. Storms may rage. Some of them are deeply personal, while others shake the whole world. But storms cannot cancel Christmas.
From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!