It is November….just a month away from Christmas…As the days go by, everyone irrespective of religion gets impatient to get in to the Christmas Eve. Special lights decorate many houses, shops, town centres and malls along with shiny decorations, and huge advertising boards of promotional season sales. In streets and shops, ‘Christmas trees’ (real or plastic evergreen ‘conifer’ trees) will also be decorated with lights and Christmas ornaments.
Shopping centres become busier as December approaches and often stay open till late. Shopping centre speaker systems will play Christmas ‘carols’ – the traditional Christmas Christian songs, and groups of people will often sing carols on the streets to raise money for charity. Most places of work will hold a short Christmas party about a week before Christmas.
‘Father Christmas’ (or ‘Santa Claus’) has become the common attraction of Christmas. You will see pictures everywhere of an old man with long white beard, red coat, and bag of toys. Children are taught that he brings them presents the night before Christmas (or in some countries on December 6th – St. Nicholas’ Day), and many children up to the age of 10 really believe this is true. In most countries, children are told that Santa lives near the North Pole, and arrives through the sky on a sledge (snow-cart) pulled by reindeer. He comes into houses down the chimney at midnight and places presents for the children in socks or bags by their beds or in front of the family Christmas tree.
Today in the West, not many people give religious meaning to Christmas. Most people will not even go to a religious church meeting, even at Christmas. It has become a busy race to spend money on presents, and get ready for the Day. In UK, our shops stay open till late Christmas Eve and often open again on Boxing Day with the cut-price ‘sales’. Christmas is seen to be a festival to the gods of money and shopping.
Many people do hope for more than presents at Christmas. We want to somehow return to a time in our childhood (or some other good time in the past), when life was simpler and made more sense, before the troubles of adult life arrived. We feel sure that behind all the fun and decorations, there must somehow be a message, something more, some key to life, hope and happiness.
So can we look beyond the way Christmas is celebrated today, and find any real meaning, any message for our lives today?
WHAT IS REAL CHRISTMAS?
Christmas is considered to be the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God, and the savior of all people. Although the Bible historically proves the birth of Jesus with clear time and era, there is no evidence in the Bible that what day or in which month of the year the Lord was born.. And it is ironically important to note that the early churches did not celebrate Christmas. Nowhere in the Bible it is commanded that we do celebrate His birth. To every true believer, the spirit of Christmas is something much more than a religious festival. Thinking and meditating on the birth of Jesus Christ (fullness of God in bodily form) itself gives perpectual joy throughout one’s life not just only in one season of the year. Till about the year AD 250-300 there was seldom celebration of Christ’s birth, except a solemn memory. His death and resurrection were commanded to be remembered in the Bible. As the church spread around the world, it encountered the Roman/European festival of the Winter Solstice. This was a day of great festivity in the pagan world. Because there was no knowledge about the date of Jesus’ birth, a day had to be selected. The Eastern Orthodox and the Eastern Rite churches within the Roman Catholic church chose January 6. The day was named Epiphany, meaning “appearance,” the day of Christ’s manifestation. The Western church, based at Rome, chose December 25. When we study the the pages of the Word of God (Bible) and the historical information provided by different historians it is noted that the truth behind this religious celebration is stunning….. The 25th December was celebrated in ancient days as the birthday of the SUN god of pagan world, (variously know as Tammuz, Mithra, Saturn, Adonis or BAAL) centuries before Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. In order to win gentile converts to the Christian faith, the religious church, centuries after the apostolic era, adopted this ancient pagan winter festival of the SUN god and renamed it ‘Christmas’ mistakenly thinking that it would honour the SON of God. This can be confirmed in any reference library.
The promise of God came to Joseph about the birth of Jesus is, “..And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name JESUS, for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt 1:21). So, the whole purpose of the Son of God coming to his world was to set the people free from the power of sin. The Bible says in 1 John 3:5, “ ..And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins, and in him is no sin”
The promise came then to the people who were living in old covenant, where no overcoming life was preached through Holy Spirit. The primary sign of one becoming born again is that he or she starts hating sin. What is sin? … anything we think, plan or do which is less than Christ likeness is sin…The birth of Jesus broke the power of sin. If the power of sin is not broken in you, how would you say that you are a Christian, or a born again Christian? What is the point in exchanging greetings of joy to others when you have no joy within you?. Christmas is the message of great joy. The first Christmas carol song was sung from heaven and the greetings of joy to the whole world was given by the angels – which is recorded in the Bible “Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10). The great joy that the Bible offers is the continual fellowship of people with God. Sin destroys the joy because it breaks the fellowship of people with God. In the old covenant, though sins were forgiven by sacrifices no eternal joy was seen in men because he had no power over sin. Every servant of God was finding it difficult to keep themselves from falling. Because sin had power on them. So there was a need for a savior to save this world from the power of darkness. In the fullness of time, God has sent His Son Jesus to save this world. That was the good news of great joy that the angles proclaimed. The Bible says in Romans 6:14 “..For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law (old covenant) but under grace (through Jesus Christ)”.
My friend, you can be an overcomer….that is the great news of Christmas….You are no more under bondage of sin, self or satan. You can overcome every situation of your life by simply trusting in the grace of God. Trust in Jesus Christ, He will lead your life to a success. You might think that you are a failure….others around you might say that you are useless….but listen…the Spirit of God tells you .. YOU ARE SPECIAL TO HIM… Jesus died for you to set you free from the burden of your sin… If you trust in Him completely, He will change you..He will change your circumstances… He only can do it… He did it for me, He did it for many others… You are no exception….you are responsible and accountable for your life before God one day (2 Corinth 5:10) because you are ignoring the grace of God for your selfish motives. Your life is precious, please do not lose it.
Those who have ears let him hear…..
Disciple of Jesus Christ