Christmas seems to be many things to many different people. Of course we know that not everyone celebrates Christmas, such as Jewish cultures and Islam, Hindi and Bhuddists. These do not celebrate Christmas, because they are not Christian. Yet you see them in the shops buying Christmas presents and decorating their houses and setting up trees as readily as Christians do. How can that be possible?
Christmas has been interpreted by many to be many different things in the TV shows and movies, and in popular literature. This Christmas can be celebrated by anybody because it does not involve Christ. So we celebrate Xmas.
Christmas has been portrayed as a time for family. This seems a totally innocent interpretation, but this can lead to sadness, depression and loneliness. It It is also a time of great stress as we try to get through huge lists of baking, cooking, decorating, shopping mailing cards, and so on. This Christmas does not solve anything, but becomes an outlet to allow us to show how “good” we can be. When we have a nice family dinner, purchased the right gifts and even put money in the red Salvation Army kettles or contribute to the many charities that show up this time of year, we have done what is required for the celebration of Christmas. Unfortunately it leaves many people without a family or too poor for even the bare Christmas niceties behind. Hence, the increase of suicides for those feeling lonely and hopeless and general depression, anxiety and stress for people.
The real Christmas is focused on what the Bible teaches about Christmas–that Christmas is the birth of Christ. He, who gave His life for the whole human race, “that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. He invites you to join the family of Christians who do not look for earthly solutions but find all their needs met in the promises of God. By looking to God for help and knowing Him and all that He has promised, a lot of the loneliness and uselessness of life goes away, and we see purpose in what we do.
This is a real frustrating theme. After all, the song says, “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to men.” Reality does not bear that out. There is war all over the world. Hate that causes awful things to be done to people. Millions of displaced refugees looking for a place away from the violence in their own country. How does that kind of peace ever hope to exist in this world?
It does not work, of course. The Peace that the Bible talks about is the peace between God and man. The ability to once again go to God to ask for forgiveness, for help and strength. That is what Christmas is really all about. Christ coming in this world as a man so that he could set things right again between God and man. That is the really good news of Christmas. When we can share in Christ’s redeeming work, we can again find comfort and hope with our God, who we had insulted in paradise by trying to become like God by eating from the “Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.”
AN INVITATION TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS
So, we can look at the worldly forms of Christmas that we see in the malls, and be reminded that there is another Christmas. One with warmth and joy. One where the many Christmas carols make sense. This is the invitation to celebrate Christmas with Christ.
Christ came to this world to defeat the devil and his host of demons. He defeated their aim to enslave the whole world through their sins. God’s justice demanded that those sins be punished by eternal death. But Christ came to take on that punishment in our place and therefore we no longer have to be punished, if we seek our redemption in Jesus Christ. What a wonderful thing to celebrate. We might even put up lights on our houses and decorate pine trees to show the world what a wonderful thing it is that we are celebrating. We gather with “brothers” and “sisters” at Christmas concerts and carolling, singing the praises of our God, so that the whole world can see how joyful we are.
Those who refuse to believe in the message of salvation will still be punished. They continue in the futility of their existence, but those who look to Jesus Christ can now enjoy the love of God and rejoice, because they know what lies ahead. What a reason to celebrate, what a reason to be joyful, what a reason to shout out to the world that Jesus Christ is Lord. King of Kings and Lord of Lords. All words that we hear at this time of the year, but meaningless unless we know what made him King and how it benefits us.
So join in the celebration of the true Christmas by learning about Christ and his work and his plans–his plans for you and for me.
Questions for discussion.
- What do we have to do to celebrate the real Christmas?
- Does celebrating the real Christmas involve going to Church?
- How can I make a change today?
For the reality of our invitation contact the administrators of this website for an invitation to join us in worship and celebration of Christ’s birth.