We must share the joy that is Christmas

The survey says only 46 percent of Americans say they celebrate as primarily a religious holiday . . .

Monday is indeed a special day in the lives of Christians as it marks the birth of the Christ Child—our savior and king. With his birth and eventual death on the cross, we all have the opportunity to be saved through his unselfish love.
    But for some unknown reason, it appears the Christmas season and all that it stands for has lost some of its meaning.
    Nine out of 10 Americans and 95 percent of Christians say they celebrate Christmas, which has held roughly steady in recent years, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. That’s the good news.
    More and more people now celebrate Christmas as a cultural holiday rather than a religious holiday.
    The survey says only 46 percent of Americans say they celebrate as primarily a religious holiday, down from 51 percent  in 2013.
    Millennials are less likely than other adults to say they celebrate Christmas in a religious way. In a 2013 Pew survey, 43 percent of Millennials say Christmas to them is more of a cultural holiday.
    By contrast, members of older generations are more likely to say they celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. Among Baby Boomers, for example, in 2013, more than twice as many see Christmas as more religious (56 percent ) than cultural (26 percent).
    In that same survey, about half of Millennials (49 percent) said before Christmas they did not plan to attend religious services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, compared with 41 percent of Boomers and 35 percent of Silent generation members. In addition, 26 percent of Millennials say they do not believe Jesus Christ was born to a virgin.
    While those statistics may not be as true here in the Heartland, it does foreshadow  a troublesome trend in our country.
    That’s why it’s so important as Christians that we share the hope and faith that’s the true power and meaning of Christmas.
    During Christmas, we celebrate the joy, hope and faith the Christ Child brings to our daily lives. But his commitment to us does not end with his birth.
    The Christ Child fills us with hope that is endless. Whether it’s times of joy, loneliness, grief or sadness, that hope is always there.
    As we reflect back on the past year, let us remember the blessings that Christ has brought into our lives.
    Let us also remember this Christmas that there are many families who need our love for the challenges they may be facing in their lives.
    Let our hearts also be with the families of those soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedoms.
    May you find the holidays filled with love, hope, faith and joy through the birth of the Christ Child.
    Merry Christmas from the Pankonin family and all of us at the Johnson Publications family of newspapers.

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