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Celebrating CHRISTmas

By Watchman | December 7, 2010

“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.  “It’s so dreadful to be poor!” sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.—-(Chapter 1, “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott)

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end…” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

“…After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.  Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.  But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  And she shall bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”  So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”   (Matthew 1:18-23)

     “It’s not gonna be much of a Christmas this year, that’s for sure.”

          I overheard the above comment in Wal-Mart the other day, and what instantly came to my mind were the opening words from Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.”   The grumbles really haven’t changed much over the years, have they?  I had even had the same thought myself this year in a moment of insanity.  Then the Lord reproved my inaccurate and really very silly words:  “I sent Light into the world and into the darkness of your heart; I sent my Love to you so you could spend eternity with Me, I sent My own Son as a baby to grow up to be the one, perfect Sacrifice who’s blood would wash away your sins forever–and you complain it won’t be much of a Christmas without  extra spending money?”   Whoops.  Praise God!  We have a heavenly Father to set us back on the right path when we look away from Him for a moment and begin to look only at our selfish selves!  That being so, I thought it was a good time to revisit the topic of the gift-giving of Christmas.

     Never having spent Christmas in another country, I’m unsure of how large a part the giving of presents plays in the celebrations of some of you who read The Watchman and live in other countries.  Here in America it has reached gargantuan and often ridiculous proportions, accounting for a large percentage of many retailers income.  As greed became a staple ingredient in the holiday, the real meaning and gifts of Christmas became obscured until, in many households, the One who’s birthday we celebrate is no longer invited to the party! 

     Since the beginning, when Adam and Eve sinned and were banished from the presence of God in Eden, men had tried to make a way to redeem themselves and find their way back into the good graces of the Almighty God.  They made sacrifices to God, sinned and fell again; made sacrifices to God again, sinned and fell again and again.  The blood of rams and goats could not cover or remove the evil that men continued to perpetuate.  The darkness of evil filled men’s hearts and there seemed no permanent way to incur the favor of God.  Satan appeared to be winning the battle for the souls of those whom God created. 

     Then, as prophesied by the Old Testament prophets, God Himself came down to earth in the form of man–a baby born in Bethlehem of Judea.  Jesus, the only-begotton Son of God–the second Person of the one triune God–became the true and greatest Gift to all of mankind.  The gift of Light shining in the darkness of evil;  the perfect Lamb of heaven who would die thirty-three years later to redeem and deliver all who believed in Him, and to bridge the chasm that sin had created between God and man.  This free gift of deliverance belongs to us today because of the Baby born a couple of thousand years ago.  Celebrate, brothers and sisters!  Celebrate because God loves us and dwelt among us, and casts our sins as far from us as “the east is from the west” and remembers them no more!  Celebrate the birth of our Lord–the greatest Gift the world has ever seen!  Invite Jesus to spend this season in which we acknowledge His birth in your home with you.   He is, indeed, the only Reason for the Season!

     As always in Christmas posts, I need to speak to those who repudiate Christmas as Christ’s birthday.  Yes, we know that Christ probably was not actually born on December 25.   Yes, we know that it was deliberately placed close to the time of the pagan winter solstice festivals.  What better time to celebrate the triumph of the One true Light of the world over the demonic powers of darkness?  What better time to celebrate Love coming down and freeing us from the shackles of the evil one who held us in the bondage of sin?  Placing Christmas here did not just give people something more godly to celebrate; it symbolized the ultimate authority of our Abba/Father over any demon or principality that would try to separate us from His perfect love!

     Won’t be much of a Christmas because there isn’t much money?  How many game systems and other gifts do our children actually need?  Will having one or two presents as opposed to ten bring the Light of Christ’s love into our children’s hearts?  Will the gift cards to Lowes or Applebee’s set our friends and family on fire with the presence of the Holy Spirit?  Search your hearts, and remember why we began giving gifts during this holiday season:  to bring to remembrance the first and greatest gift of all–the salvation brought to us by Jesus ; born in a manger to a young girl and her new husband who bent their wills to the will of God:   the salvation brought by Jesus that we could never earn by ourselves, that we do not deserve and yet receive freely from the heart of the God of love!

Maranatha! 

 

 

Topics: A Special Word for Today, Special Seasons of Worship | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Celebrating CHRISTmas”

  1. David Lake Says:
    December 9th, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Those who have been born again have already been given every good and perfect gift. When we complain we are declaring that God has not given us enough, but we are promised a future that eye has not seen nor ear heard of has entered into our wildest imagination. God is so good!

    If we have access to clean water we are among the most fortunate people on earth. If we have housing with clean water inside and heated, no less, we among the richest. Adding lights and electricity, wow, we have so much to be thankful for.

  2. Sherman Dumag Says:
    December 10th, 2010 at 9:26 am

    We have a gingerbread making party every year. It’s something we started over 20 years ago when my sister and I had been teenagers, and my little brother was at the correct age to take pleasure in such things (6-7). We alternate whose residence it is at each year, and occasionally we have themes or contests. We’ve built gingerbread churches, cabins, tents, lean-to’s, and replicas of our own real homes. We also have spiced cider, play Christmas music, and get sick eating the candy we use to decorate the houses, but we always have a blast. It’s incredibly nerdy, but fun, and each year we have new individuals join us inside the festivities, including our spouses, older brother, and now niece. It’s a great way to invest an afternoon, and we all get to take residence our creations at the end of the day.

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