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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Something About Christmas Time

An old pop-music song about Christmas goes, “There’s something about Christmas time, something about Christmas time that makes you wish it was Christmas everyday…” Now, most folks know why Christmas is celebrated, but as the author of the previous lyrics implies, the real reason is being lost, forgotten, ignored, or simply denied.

Many in the world today have put their own spin on what is special about Christmas. This should come as no surprise. Christmas is associated with time off from work or school, the giving/receiving of gifts, large gatherings with friends and family (accompanied by great feasts), as much as it is with the birth of Jesus, so what’s not to love? So what if you don’t believe in what/why Christmas is celebrated; you can still have a great time.

Governments, in the name of “separation of church and state,” and many private institutions, in the name of “tolerance,” have removed many direct references to Christmas. “Merry Christmas” has become “Happy Holidays;” Christmas trees are now “Community trees;” Christmas carols are now “winter carols,” and so on.

Nowadays phrases like “spirit of Christmas,” “spirit of giving,” “magic of Christmas,” are very prevalent in our culture. What do these mean?

One author I read recently describes the “hidden meaning” of Christmas as: “(a) festival of the human heart. It is a time of year when all the universe conspires to raise the vibratory level of consciousness on earth to one of peace and love toward ourselves and one another. This season resonates to the sweet, childlike innocence that resides in all of us. A time when the heavenly forces inspire us to shift our focus away from fear and toward one of joy, and healing.” Huh?!

Movies, music, poetry, and other forms of expression have attempted to inform us of what the “true meaning of Christmas" is. A cartoon we watched recently described “friendship” as what Christmas is all about. Other secular productions portray Christmas as a celebration of love, generosity, kindness, joy, peace, family, and so on. These, of course, are wonderful things, but none of them alone reveals the true meaning of Christmas.

“And it came to pass in those days...”, So begins the real story of Christmas: The story of God’s incarnation in the birth of His Son Jesus Christ. But Christians celebrating Christmas are celebrating more than just a birthday. Christians believe, as C.S. Lewis put it, that Christmas is the story of how “the rightful king has landed.”

Just prior to His death, as Jesus stood before Pilate, the Roman governor, Pilate asked Him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” After some discussion Pilate concludes to Jesus, “You are a king, then!” Jesus answered him saying, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world…”

But He was not just any king; He was a king with a holy mission. “Amazing love, how can it be, that you my King would die for me?” Jesus was the Christ, the “Messiah,” the “Anointed One.” As the angel reported to the shepherds, “today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you…” Jesus was a king who was born to die; not only to die, but to rise again and rule forever.

His death was to “redeem” us, and to serve as “atonement” for us. Jesus came into the world so that the world, through Him, “might be saved.” And on the third day after his death, our King, born in a stable, conquered even death so that we could live forever with Him.

When Christians truly celebrate Christmas, we celebrate not just a birthday, but the beginning of a sequence of events that would change the world forever. He was born, He lived, He died, He arose, and now He is preparing a place for all of those who believe in Him. Just as sure as all of the other events took place, we who celebrate Christmas look forward to His return and we will celebrate for all eternity.

Just before handing Him over for crucifixion, Pilate asked the crowd, “What shall I do, then, with Jesus…?” That is the ultimate question that each of us must answer, and Christmas provides us with the beginning of the answer.

Have a truly merry Christmas.

Copyright 2009, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

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