Friday, December 12, 2008

Jesus: The Reason for the Season

Every year our elementary school has a Christmas Program—at least that’s what it used to be called. It’s now politically incorrect to refer to it as a Christmas Program. It was the Holiday Program for a few years but is now called the Winter Program.

When my oldest daughter was in 2nd grade, she played the part of Mary and we had a program based on the Nativity. It was, by far, the best program I’ve ever seen our elementary school perform. Since then, we’ve had shows about penguins, Hansel and Gretel (another daughter played Gretel), the Abominable Snowman (my son played that part), and coyotes. This year it’s about musicians and a Hopi myth. While I like to learn about other cultures, having a program about Hopi Indians, instead of the Nativity, during the Christmas season seems out of place to me.

Our elementary school shies away from anything religious. My question is always, “If our program isn’t about celebrating Christmas, why do it in December (one of the busiest months of the year)?” I have yet to receive an answer to that question.

I’ve noticed over the years that while many minority groups have enjoyed greater respect and inclusion (as they should), it’s been at the exclusion of Christian groups. Our school district bends over backwards to accommodate every group under the sun except Christian groups. We aren’t allowed to pray in school. My nephew was told by a teacher that he couldn’t pray at all in school, not even silently. He responded that he could pray anywhere, anytime and no one could stop him.

If we claim a belief in God, more and more people scoff at the idea. People have gone so far as to claim that Jesus is a myth and the whole Nativity story is fashioned after the story of the Egyptian God Horus. They say that the Christian believers made up the story of Jesus and wrote the Bible in an effort to perpetuate the myth. They claim the Bible has been fabricated and cannot be a reliable historic source because those who kept the records only did so to fool people into believing Jesus was born and then crucified for our sins.

The only way we can know if the story of the Christ child is real or fabricated is to receive our own witness of the truth. Once the Holy Ghost has witnessed to our spirit that Jesus did in fact walk the earth and then willingly laid down his life to atone for our sins, there is no room for discussion or alternate versions of reality. We must each receive that witness.

For me, I have no doubt that Jesus is the Christ. I have no doubt he was born into mortality, walked the earth, and then took upon him the sins of the world as he suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane. How he did that, I don’t understand, but I have faith that he did. I’ve had my own witness.

It is his birth that we celebrate. May we all remember the reason for the season, proclaim our belief in the Savior, and enjoy a very merry and blessed Christmas.

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