“Can this be Christmas?” was the question our grandchildren asked when we announced that right after our 2006 Thanksgiving weekend at Mt. Hermon we would be having Christmas at a little second home on our friend’s property in Castro Valley.

Our sons had been asked by Mt. Hermon Christian Conference Center to provide the worship music for their very popular Thanksgiving Weekend Conference.  With the approval of our son’s families, Louise and I decided to attend the conference, enjoy family, and then retreat to a friend’s wonderful guest house on Sunday, November 26 where we prepared a nice feast for the immediate family.

For years, we have seen our sons absolutely exhausted on Christmas Day, having just led their respective churches in three to five Christmas Eve Day services.  Due to the hectic pace that is involved around that holiday season we decided to move our family Christmas celebration to the Sunday after Thanksgiving. We all call it Thankmas!

It was so wonderful to celebrate our time together with hearts of thanksgiving.  While there were plenty of gifts (grandparents must spoil their grand-kids a little), we made sure that Jesus did not get lost in all the wrapping paper and Christmas decorations.  Each grandchild read from Scripture as we remembered the reason we even have a Christmas.

In preparing this devotional I came across this little poem that portrays the importance of the Christ child in Christmas.  I plan to read it to our family when we gather for our Christmas celebration.

Can This Be Christmas?

What’s all this hectic rush and worry?
Where go these crowds who run and curry?
Why all the lights—the Christmas trees?
The jolly “fat man,” tell me please!

Why, don’t you know? This is the day
For parties and for fun and play;
Why this is Christmas!

So, this is Christmas, do you say?
But where is Christ this Christmas day?
Has He been lost among the throng?
His voice drowned out by empty song?

No. He’s not here—you’ll find Him where
Some humble soul now kneels in prayer,
Who knows the Christ of Christmas.

But see the many aimless thousands
Who gather on this Christmas Day,
Whose hearts have never yet been opened,
Or said to Him, “Come in to stay.”

In countless homes the candles burning,
In countless hearts expectant yearning
For gifts and presents, food and fun,
And laughter till the day is done.

But not a tear of grief or sorrow
For Him so poor He had to borrow
A crib, a colt, a boat, a bed
Where He could lay His weary head.

I’m tired of all this empty celebration,
Of feasting, drinking, recreation;
I’ll go instead to Calvary.

And there I’ll kneel with those who know
The meaning of that manger low,
And find the Christ—this Christmas.

I leap by faith across the years
To that great day when He appears
The second time, to rule and reign,
To end all sorrow, death, and pain.

In endless bliss, we then shall dwell
With Him who saved our souls from hell,
And worship Christ—not Christmas!

~M.R. DeHaan, M.D., Founder, Radio Bible Class


Personal Application:

  1. How can you make the holiday season more directed to Christ?
  2. What does Galatians 1:10 say about honoring God versus man?

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.