By Dr. Duane Costello, Faith Fellowship Church So here is the scene: you just finished celebrating Thanksgiving in your home and then BAM; Black Friday hits you full force. One minute you are slowing down a little to celebrate with family and friends and taking time to be thankful for all that you have. Thankful for family, friends, a job or a host of other things. Before you know it the stores are so crowded that people are running into other people to make a mad dash at the item they are looking for on sale. I went out once several years ago and waited in line while it was still dark. Once the race began I ended up walking out of the store with bruises on both legs from people running into me with their shopping carts. Now don't get me wrong: I am not trying to say that Black Friday is evil or anything. But, is Christmas really necessary? Is buying gifts necessary? Is putting up decorations necessary? Are Christmas parties necessary? A lot of people go in debt to buy presents; is that really necessary? I guess it all depends on what your view of Christmas really is. For some, it is just a time of spending money they don't have. For others, it is a time to get some days off of work; while others it means more work. For the stores it is a time where they can get out of the red and get into the black, as far as their books are concerned. To me Christmas is very necessary. To me Christmas is about our Lord and Savior; Jesus Christ coming into this world as a baby who would ultimately go to the Cross of Calvary years later to die on the Cross. He did this because He, being perfect, came to die and spill His blood out to pay for mankind's sin debt. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." God did this so that sinful man could have a way to be made right with God so that if man would come God's way, he could have eternal life. Christmas is necessary for many reasons; but for me it is necessary because of the hope that this time of the year brings to millions of people. It is a time of "peace on earth, good-will toward men." It is a time when many people stop and "smell the Christmas air" and look for ways to reach out and be a blessing to others who are not as fortunate as they are. It is a time for family and giving and receiving. God so loved the world that he "gave". What did God give? He gave His only begotten Son; Jesus Christ. For who? The entire world. The world is in chaos more today than ever. Christmas breaks through all this and says, "Hey, in Jesus you can have 'peace on earth' and good-will toward men. Christmas forces us to deal with the baby Jesus. Jesus is the Christ; the Son of God; the Messiah; the one who could forgive man of their sins. It forces us to either gravitate toward Christ or we allow ourselves to gravitate away from Christ. If we gravitate toward Christ then Christmas has a very intimate and holy meaning to us. We look toward God through Jesus Christ. We see God for who he is; someone who deeply loves us so much that He sent His only son to die for our sins. This leads us into helping others in need; looking out for others instead of ourselves only. Christmas brings us hope and joy and peace that the world doesn't understand. If we gravitate away from Christmas and leave Christ out of it then we find ourselves running around trying to busy ourselves with the cares of the world and many times, if not all the time, we find at the end of Christmas we ask ourselves the question: "Is Christmas Necessary?" I hope you find Christ in Christmas this year and I hope that Christmas has great meaning to you because of what Christ Jesus has done for you on the Cross of Calvary. So, is Christmas necessary? To me it is. I hope it is for you. If nothing else; it gives you something to think about. Merry Christmas everyone!!!