What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice” Philippians 1:18
Melissa and I were in the stores this afternoon, two days before Thanksgiving. Christmas music blared from every speaker. In every store. It was very annoying! It just seems too early! Even in my place of work Christmas wreaths were hung last week on our customer’s office doors, Christmas trees were up with prettily wrapped presents of empty boxes underneath. Isn’t that too early?
My wife and I don’t have children so we don’t experience the demand from that sector of society to put up decorations so early along with every other commercial force, like Halloween decorations going up the first day of October. And not that we are a couple of Scrooges, at least in our estimation. But it just seems like it is too soon for all that. The commercial entities are trying to get you into the Christmas spirit (i.e., get out and part with your money) so soon it seems the two months before Christmas gets here you will certainly get burned out on the whole Christmas spirit. Maybe its just me.
But rather than just get annoyed at the onslaught of Christmas music en masse, while sitting in a movie theater, I listened a little closer. It seemed most of the music was actually of Christian hymns, portraying the Gospel themes of Jesus as God, coming to earth to free us from our sins, worshipped by angels, and of the holy night of our Savior’s birth. In other words, songs of evangelization. If indeed as scripture says it is the remnant that is saved, and by that read, a very small percentage of humanity, then what excuse can so many have for not responding to the Gospel message? Like Isaiah says, to whom has the message been delivered? (Isaiah 53:1) Well, pretty much to everybody. Who doesn’t know the words to all these Christian Christmas songs? Many probably sing along even silently while wandering a store’s aisles. It isn’t like the Gospel message of such a great salvation has been told only in churches on Sunday. It is in the streets, on every TV and radio commercial, and in every store and mall, all across America, and probably the civilized world. And certainly not for the honorable purpose of turning every man from his sin and to kneel before a merciful and loving God. It is merely a marketing ploy to part you and your money.
So rather than get annoyed I can think like Paul, who even in his day the Gospel message was preached and broadcast for reasons other than honorable. And he knew that regardless the reason, the message of salvation was still being published, and word of Jesus life, death and resurrection could be heard, and perhaps a stray heart here or there would latch on to that message and be saved.
It could happen. And in that we really can rejoice!
[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]