Friday, December 24, 2010
Christmas: Anno Domini 2010
The reason we have Christmas to celebrate, instead of something else, is because we have sin that needs to be dealt with.
Sometimes you hear that Christians “stole” the holiday from pagans, which isn’t really true. When Christmas traditions first developed, they shared the stage with several different pagan celebration days that people took part in. But honoring the birth of Jesus simply became more important to people as time went by. It didn’t really matter if Jesus was actually born on December 25th or not. The point was the honor people wanted to show him.
I’m sure there were also leaders in the church, and probably in governments too, hoping to steer people away from some of the pagan days of feasting that caused a lot of trouble due to excess partying and craziness. But it was a progressive thing: people began trading away empty pagan celebrations, that were an excuse for sin, for a holy day that reminded them of how God worked to meet their needs. It’s sad that the opposite seems to be happening now: meaningful things being abandoned for pointless, empty things.
Some complain about it, but it’s really no surprise that people carried some of the old symbols into the new celebrations. They simply tried to redeem them, make them useful for the faith. After all, God is in the redemption business, isn’t he? In their simple ways, they were celebrating the truth that Jesus is God’s unique, one and only, way of dealing with our sin, like the Bible says in John 3:18:
John 3: 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
“Condemned already.” Look around at the world we live in – the funeral homes and the police blotters, the history of war and violence we have lived – and try to deny it. We can try to blame God, but God knows we’re the problem. And, like it or not, no one here gets out alive. So we really NEED that baby in a manger. We really need what he did for us on the Cross. Because God loves us, he has done what it takes to meet our need:
John 3: 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
We didn’t deserve it, but God humbled himself to become one of us and die for us. We need Jesus to save us because we can’t save ourselves.
All glory be to his name.
Merry Christmas and...
Peace to you.
© LW Publishing 2010