Monday, November 28, 2016

Christ-mas


Christmas

Will Christmas survive or are its days numbered? In November I saw a notice by non-Christians on social media that read:  ‘Brace yourselves: “The Keep Christ in Christmas” posts are coming!’ Then there are some Christians who object to the word ‘mas’ in Christmas because of its association with the Roman Catholic Mass – against which they make much protestation! But won’t Christmas as we know it disappear upon the removal of either of these words?

The Nativity Scene usually comprises of Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus, all in a stable surrounded by farm animals, three wise men, some shepherds and maybe an angel or two. Some wish the removal of Nativity scenes from public places. Others wish only to remove the three wise men, claiming they are add-ons. (The Bible doesn’t say that they visited Jesus when He was in the stable or even that there were only three!)

What would remain if Christ and the Nativity Scene were to be removed from Christmas? Well, the extras, such as the red-suited Santa, a tinselled-tree, some elves and some reindeer, would remain. Wait! What do any of these things have to do with Christmas? Nothing really. So, there are some Christians who would like Santa, Christmas trees, elves and reindeer removed from Christmas…

Others argue over the 25th December date. We don’t know the exact date upon which Jesus was born. Then there’s the Julian Calendar which uses the 7th January date for celebrating the birth of Christ. Then there’s the Jehovah’s Witness do not celebrate any birthdays, especially not Jesus’s. They also deny that God also became a man in Jesus.  

Such conflict of opinion over Christmas! Should we just call the whole thing off to keep everyone happy? Let’s see: If we remove God, Christ, ‘mass’, the whole stable Nativity, what are we left with? Father Christmas instead of Father God. Santa’s sled instead of Christ’s manger. Reindeer instead of angels. Elves instead of wise men. Christmas wrapping without the Christmas present!

But what does the Bible say? ‘For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’ Luke 2:11-12. So we see then that someone was born to you and to me in Bethlehem on a certain day. That Someone is a Saviour, and He is none other than Christ who is the Lord. So, the main thing that Christmas is about is acknowledging and celebrating the birth of Christ. ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’ John 1:14a.

In some ways the battle to add things to Christmas is reminiscent of what people do to God’s Word and to His Gospel message. But we receive these warnings: ‘What is His name and what is His Son’s name, if you know? … Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you and you be found a liar’ Proverbs 30:4b;6. ‘But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed’ Galatians 1:8.

What is the Gospel? Well, Christmas is a huge part of it: ‘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, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father’ Isaiah 2:6. Thus, Christmas will survive!

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