Helpful discussion on the celebration of Christmas. “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace” (Is.9:7). . .
There was a news report out a few days ago that told about a bank that was being forced by the government to remove all of its Christmas decorations. Generic holiday decorations could stay, but anything having to do with Christmas, Jesus, or the Christian message of the season had to go.
Many would see this kind of action as another example of what’s been called “the war against Christmas.” But actually, attempts to rid the season of any vestiges of the Christ child is just one battle in a much larger war – the war against Jesus Himself.
The war against Jesus has been going on for a very long time. In fact, it precedes His incarnation.
After the fall of mankind, God promised that a seed would be born who would overcome evil and redeem fallen humanity (Gen.3:15). Once that promise was issued, Satan did his best to keep it from being fulfilled.
Cain’s murder of Abel, the corruption of the human race before Noah, Pharaoh’s efforts to kill the male offspring of the Hebrews, and Saul’s attacks on David are just a few examples of Satan-inspired attempts to keep God’s promised seed from coming forth.
But the seed did come forth. In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman. This is what we celebrate at Christmas.
Yet, even after Christ was born, the war continued as attempts were made to keep Him from reigning and ruling as the royal seed.
We have entered the time of year that Christians call Advent – a time of preparation for the coming of Jesus, the King of kings. More popularly, we have entered what’s known as the Christmas shopping season.
As we come into this season, we are accustomed to hearing about the dangers of materialism. And these admonitions are fitting. For countless souls, there is hardly a thought about the reason for the season, all while consumed with the buying and getting of stuff. So, a warning about materialism is definitely in order.
But along with the warning, we should recognize that there is nothing wrong with material things, per se. Christ’s incarnation during His first Advent makes this obvious.
When Christ came into the world, He did so by taking on a human, fleshly body. As He grew in wisdom and stature, He interacted with the material world. He wore clothes, ate food, rode in boats, and did many other things that we can identify with. Since all these things were from His Father, we can confidently say that He enjoyed them.
At age of 30, Jesus began His three year ministry which ended with His death and resurrection. The purpose of this ministry was to bring redemption to the world. A redemption that applies not just to the spirits of men, but to the whole creation. He came, in other words, that the whole earth would be restored and all the stuff in it would be set apart for the Lord.
All this has a bearing on how we think about the things we get and give for Christmas.
Christmas. It’s just what the world needs.
With a year that has brought us the fall and death of celebrities, an economy that continues to flounder, and political maneuvering ad nauseam, Christmas brings us precisely the message our time requires.
First, Christmas brings us the message of a Savior.
What is the greatest need we have today? Is it information? Maybe technology? How about money? Perhaps health care? Or leisure? No. None of these. Our fundamental problem is ethical, so our greatest need is for a Savior, and this is what God provided through the birth of Jesus Christ.
Here is that message as it was foretold in reference to His mother Mary. “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Mt.1:21).
This Savior, Jesus, was sent to deliver us from sin and self-destruction, and restore us to God that we might live according to His design. But there’s more. Read more…