Well, Christmas will soon be with us, and once again, it seems to be a good time to consider "what is the reason for the season?" from a Biblical perspective. No doubt, most people in our area would say that Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior of mankind. But do most people actually celebrate Jesus' birth, and more importantly, is Jesus actually their Lord and Savior?
Let's look at a typical family Christmas. The typical family goes to church either on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. You know it's a special event because you always see the usual few that come to church twice a year, with Christmas being one of the times. The mass is long and crowded, but you are not troubled because when it's done the "fun" stuff starts. There is the gift opening period where the kids see what Santa Claus brought as well as exchanging gifts with each other. This is then followed by a period of time, sometimes a week, of visiting relatives, socializing with plenty of food and drinks and entertainment such as card playing, football, Christmas specials on TV, and more gift opening. As the week goes on, you may have to deal with going to work with lack of sleep and a slight hangover, but "that's okay, it's Christmas." In fact, one of the things that you like about Christmas is how loving and tolerant people are at this time. You catch up on news in the family, this one moved in with that one, another announced they are gay, etc, etc,.. but as long as they are happy and healthy, that's the main thing. Finally, comes New Year's Eve with all of the partying and the extras of all proportions, but what the heck, "tis the season," and we can take all day recuperating while we watch the big bowl games on New Year's Day. What's wrong with the picture? Clearly a Christmas such as this is just another form of what Jesus talked about in Mark 7:6, "This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me." The Bible warns us, "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth," (1 John 1:6) and some that are "...lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness, but denying its power," (2 Timothy 3:4,5) and still others that, "find way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe (their own) traditions." (Mark 7:9).
The Bible tells us that Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments," (John 14:15 and 21) and "... If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed." (John 8:31) Scripture tells us in several places that ignorance of God's way, will not be excused on Judgment day. (see Hosea 4:6 and Romans 1:20) Jesus made this very clear, as well, when He said, "....Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God." (Matthew 22:29) With this in mind, using God's perspective, the Bible, let's see what was wrong with "the typical family Christmas" mentioned above by simply illustrating a Christmas from a Christ centered family.
This family attends church as well, but not to merit salvation or graces, but rather to praise Jesus for what He accomplished 2000 years ago, for loving us so much that, "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, .... now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." (Romans 5:8,9) A family such as this doesn't go to church as a means leading up to the "good times," because this is the main event. And then when they get home, and visit others, Jesus is still the main event for, "we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18) The greatest joy in their lives is to hear and see that a loved one got saved. Their gatherings center on Jesus and His Word, but this isn't just a Christmas event, but rather a daily way of life. There is no need for a fictitious character such as Santa Claus because they know that "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above......." (James 1:17) The differences are clear. In the first case, after an hour or two of "church," there is little thought to anything but fun and to "enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;" as Hebrews 11:25 would describe this season of self indulgence. However, there is one thing that both examples have in common and that is that both stories are about the same person, me.
Consider this Christmas story a testimony to the power of Scripture to change lives. The first scenario is how I used to celebrate Christmas before I learnt that the THE GOSPEL is about what Jesus did, as a free gift for all who believe in His finished work at Calvary, not in how well I can merit salvation through my efforts of sacraments, masses, and merits. John described me perfectly in his Epistle as, "if we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: (1 John 1:6) Once I realized this, then the changes started immediately, "...if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." ( 2 Corinthians 5:17) Let us rejoice, knowing the real reason Christmas should be about God's love and plan to save us, "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," (John 3:16) not about material possessions and parties.
If your Christmas resembles the Christmas as I use to live, and you want to change, or you don't understand this message, then grab a Bible and contact Gospel-Light Ministries for further information, (see Advertisement Display) May that be my Christmas gift to you, in Christ!